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Kazakh Protesters Call For Presidential Election Boycott


Protesters in Almaty rally to demand a fair election and the freeing of political prisoners on May 1.

Dozens of protesters have gathered in the center of two Kazakh cities, calling for the release of all political prisoners and a boycott of the upcoming presidential election.

Kazakhstan is set to hold a snap election on June 9 following the resignation in March of Nursultan Nazarbaev, the authoritarian president who had led Kazakhstan since before it gained independence in the Soviet collapse of 1991.

In Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, the protesters gathered in Central Park, where they shouted slogans such as "Shame," "Boycott," "I have a choice," and "Freedom for political prisoners."

In the capital, Nur-Sultan, the demonstrators made similar calls as they rallied near the Astana Concert Hall.

"People are tired" and "down with the government" were among the slogans being shouted.

WATCH: RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports live:

The unsanctioned demonstrations are being held under increased police presence. No arrests have been reported so far.

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