I think that peaceful gatherings and demonstrations should be allowed in Kazakhstan. Not just formally, but really allowed. This right should not be permissive, but informative. That is, the protesters should not ask for permission, but simply warn the authorities that they are going to hold a rally, procession or demonstration at that place at that time. The places for holding the rally must be determined in advance by the authorities, but not in remote secluded places, which the akimats often allocate for these purposes, but on the central squares. The authorities must take measures to ensure public order in the specified area, but not to disperse the demonstration.

            At the same time, it is necessary not to forget about the interests of other citizens, those who do not participate in the rally and do not support the protesters. The rally must not create obstacles to their daily lives, transportation, and, what’s more, must not threaten public order, life and health of the surrounding people. In order for this rule to work, you need to equip the venues with permanent video surveillance, and protesters must not wear masks. Every participant of the rally must know that his face is fixed, which means that he can be easily identified. This will prevent the person from acts of violence and vandalism.

            The first experiments of holding rallies according to such rules (when they will be really allowed) are quite expected to have distortions from both sides.

            The protesters, who do not have the experience of public demonstrations, so there’s a chance they will insult and abuse people, shout, and often start riots. There will be both militant thugs and provocateurs among the protesters. These should be punished severely. This will be the payment for greater freedom.

            The authorities also won’t be perfect. It will not be easy for a local official to get used to the idea that a protestor is not an enemy of the people, but a citizen, just like him. And he has the right to communicate his opinion to the public in this way. For this it is not necessary to beat him, twist his hands, tear posters, crash video cameras. It is necessary to let him speak (of course, if he does not offend people, attack passers-by and policemen, smash property, etc.).

           There will be some distortions, of course. But this tool of democracy needs to be learned. We should start some time.

Over the centuries, the mankind has not come up with anything better than demonstrations, processions and rallies as a manifestation of the people’s opinion. Public expression of opinions is the sacred right of citizens of a free society. In addition, it is an excellent litmus test for the authorities to assess their actions in the eyes of the people.

There is nothing wrong with the fact that in our country the picture will become habitual in the course of time when groups of people with different posters stand on the squares: “Raise pensions!”, “Cut down utilities bills!”, “Stop cutting trees!”, “Allow lace panties!”, etc. This should become the norm and should not frighten anyone. This is a sign of a democratic society. This is how the whole civilized world lives.

P.S. Someone will say that rallies and demonstrations are not far from a revolution and a coup. My answer is simple. Most of the revolutions in recent decades have occurred just where rallies are banned. And in such stable countries that have not seen revolutions for centuries, like France, Italy, the United States, etc., demonstrations in different cities take place almost every day.

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