24-year-old Aslan Sagutdinov from Kazakhstan was arrested by police for standing in Abai square with an empty poster in his hands. Barely five minutes into his an act, police officers and head of the internal department of the city showed up, but the boss declared that the activist cannot be arrested, only for the traffic cops to swing by minutes later and forcefully take Aslan to the police car.
When Aslan inquired why he was being detained, if he didn’t shout out any slogans and stand with a completely blank poster, the staff responded with the words that “they will understand” before he was taken to the Abayevsky police station.
According to him, he came out with a blank poster to show that there is no freedom of speech and democracy in Kazakhstan.
“I want to show that I am a simple citizen who does not participate in the picket, but at the same time, I will still be taken to the police department, even if I have no inscriptions on the poster, and I do not shout out any slogans. My name is Aslan Sagutdinov, and I want the historically free Kazakhstan people to remain free to this day, ” he said, speaking to reporters.
For about half an hour the police asked him to write something on the poster, but he refused to yield and was later released. According to the Kazakhstan government, unsanctioned protest is forbidden.
“The police asked me to write something on a poster to issue an administrative report. I refused, they took an explanatory note from me and let me go home, the activist said,” Aslan noted.
As for the blank poster Aslan was holding it parallels an old Soviet joke where a man gets arrested by KGB for distributing blank sheets of paper near a metro station. When asked why the sheets are blank, he answers “everybody already understands everything, so no need for extras”