Kazakh police have detained journalists from a number of media outlets, including Russian Interfax-Kazakhstan, planning to cover an unsanctioned rally in Astana on May 21.
The journalists had gathered on a square near the Baiterek monument to cover an unsanctioned rally that activists disagreeing with amendments to the Land Code planned to arrange there.
Policemen asked the journalists to produce their IDs, and the latter showed their press cards. Despite this, some journalists, including those from Interfax-Kazakhstan and Novaya Gazeta Kazakhstan, were forcibly placed into a bus and taken to the Almaty district police department, an Interfax journalist reports.
Almaty police did not allow participants in an unsanctioned rally who gathered at the intersection of Abai Street and Furmanov Street to proceed to Republic Square, the planned venue of the rally, an Interfax correspondent reported from the scene.
Police estimated the number of the demonstrators at about 500.
Kazakh Information and Communications Minister Dauren Abayev has promised to look into the detentions of journalists.
"Yes, we will support journalists generally in their work and in performing their professional duties," Abayev told journalists in commenting on the incident.
UPD at 4pm Moscow time: Police in the Kazakh regional center of Karaganda have freed the journalists.
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