Kazakh Uighurs stage protest
ALMATY, Kazakhstan - More than 5,000 ethnic Uighurs rallied in Kazakhstan’s largest city yesterday to protest China’s use of deadly force to quash Uighur protests this month.
The show of solidarity was the largest in any of the former Soviet republics - home to a half-million Uighurs - since the July 5 violence in Xinjang that authorities say claimed almost 200 lives.
“We have come out to protest today because of the events of July 5 and because the Chinese authorities are continuing to deprive people of their human rights,’’ said Khakhriman Khozhamberdi, a leading Uighur activist in Kazakhstan.
Much of the far-flung Uighur diaspora in Central Asia are descendants of refugees that escaped Xinjiang during the Chinese conquest of that region in 1870s. Like many other Central Asian peoples, Uighurs speak a Turkic language, and most are Muslims.
About 300,000 ethnic Uighurs live in Kazakhstan, the largest population outside China. They had been reluctant to protest until now, fearing crackdowns by Kazakh authorities.