Is it legitimate to introduce a moratorium on rallies in Kyrgyzstan?
05/04-2012 10:08, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency , by Julia KOSTENKO
In Kyrgyzstan, a day without rallies can be considered a holiday. People are so accustomed to defend their rights with the help of riot that they virtually lining up before the “White House” with protest placards. Large-scale pre-designed and organized actions and unremarkable performances of one or two disgruntled citizens are held here.
According to various estimates, only in 2011 in Kyrgyzstan there were up to 1.5 thousand rallies. The authorities are pestered with public discontent of citizens, and they are considering an issue of moratorium on rallies. The lid of Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov came off. He accused the protesters of a weak infusion of foreign investment in the country’s economy. “Rallies frighten off foreign investors and prevent from construction of new plants and factories in the republic. I go abroad with working visits and always invite investors to Kyrgyzstan. But how can they come to us, if we have rallies all the time?” the Prime Minister asked and proposed to introduce a moratorium on rallies for 3 years so that his team could work normally.
24.kg news agency addresses respondents with a question is it legitimate to introduce a moratorium on rallies in Kyrgyzstan?
Turusbek Sagynaev, chairman of the April Baatyrlary United People’s Movement:
- I regard this proposal as the abasement of my rights. It is impossible to forbid people to organize rallies. There were so many protests before the April Revolution. And now the authorities have made their own and do not want them to share the fate of their predecessors, so they decided to ban rallies.
Askerbek Aliyev, akim of Pervomay district:
- You ask a strange question… The number of rallies, picquets, actions and road blockings in the republic increased since last year. This brings great inconvenience to citizens and guests of the capital, especially in summer when tourists come to Kyrgyzstan. They are scared. The Constitution does not prohibit holding of rallies, but sometimes we go the limit.
The first phase of land-grabbing began after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the second – in 2005. Now people demand electricity, schools, hospitals, roads. In all civilized countries villages around the capital became a part of the city. But here everything is vice versa. It is not clear what Bishkek is. But residents of new buildings demand changes. Indulging their desires we give occasion to the other illegal activities.
Indira S., seller:
- It is right, let them prohibit. There is no public quiet because of protestors. What do they want? They want the Government to solve all their problems? It is impossible. Recently there was a rally of borrowers who demanded to exempt them from payment of loans. They were not forced to get into debt bondage. Why now the authorities must take responsibility? As soon as dissatisfied people gather in the square, citizens think that a new revolution is coming.
In such circumstances, not only foreign investors appear, but local entrepreneurs run away.
Taalaibek Esenaliyev, Professor of Theology of the Kyrgyz State University after I.Arabayev:
-This proposal is contrary to all democratic principles. A person has the right to express his opinions freely. The ban on rallies may cause international reaction, because in many countries it is customary norm of will’s expression.
Umut Burchakova, pensioner:
- Our authorities can turn everything on its head. They are proud of revolutionary achievements. They gave one million to those who lost their lives near the “White House”, set monuments to those who brought them to power, and now they want to bury that for which they fought themselves. If we impose a moratorium on rallies, it means we recognize those methods that the authorities used themselves as illegal. So, it turns out that when they need power all means were appropriate. But as they sit in chairs, they prohibited all protest actions. And what about democracy?
Cholpon Dzhakupova, head of the Adilet Legal Clinic:
- In Kyrgyzstan everything is possible, but as violation of the Constitution. We have freedom of meetings and rallies. The Prime Minister wants to enter into an agreement with the opposition. However, it will not have legal nature. People will pay by their own reputation for violation of this treaty. I do not think he will be able to agree with every citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic. What is the point of introducing the restriction if it applies only to a small circle of participants? If someone wants to arrange a rally, no one can restrict his civil right. It’s just games of authorities.
Nurdin Alykulov, Jalal-Abad city resident:
-You can not take away that right from people. In the capital, there are more opportunities to appeal to the authorities. But what about people living in remote regions? How do we attract their attention to the problems? But if people gather somewhere in the south, the whole country is frantically shaken: journalists, local authorities, police arrive there.
Almaz Esengeldiyev, Freedon Hause deputy director:
-It is the same as to impose a ban on freedom of speech. Now the head of the Government proposes to ban rallies temporarily, but this may exist forever. The Government, by contrast, should increase the credibility of the population. We know the consequences of the lack of freedom of speech, and certainly everyone remembers what consequences it produced.
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