Kazakhstan anti-government protests: 164 people killed and 5,900 detained in the past week, health ministry says

A total of 164 people have been killed in protests in Kazakhstan over the past week, the country’s health ministry has said.

Demonstrations first began over a rise in fuel prices but grew to express broader frustrations about the government, prompting a Russia-led military alliance to send soldiers to the country.

Those who died include 103 people in Almaty, Kazakhstan‘s largest city, where demonstrators stormed government buildings and set some on fire, health officials said.

The president’s office said authorities have now regained control of the buildings and the situation in the country has stabilised.

Russian TV station Mir-24 said occasional gunfire was heard in the city on Sunday, but it was unclear whether it was warning shots by police.

Three of the casualties were under the age of 18, including a four-year-old girl, Kazakhstan’s ombudswoman for children’s rights said.

More than 2,200 people have been injured during the unrest – 1,300 of them security officers, officials said.

There were also about 5,800 people detained by police, the president’s office said, with a “sizable number of foreign nationals”.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev claims protests were fuelled by “terrorists” with foreign backing, but there have been no obvious leaders.

It is not clear if the death toll refers only to civilians or includes law enforcement officers.

Authorities said earlier on Sunday that 16 police officers or members of the national guard were among those who have died

Mr Tokayev said on Friday that he had authorised police and the military to shoot to kill to restore order.

Almaty’s airport, which had been taken over by protesters, is expected to resume operating on Monday.

Kazakhstan has been led by the same party since the nation’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, with challengers repressed, sidelined or co-opted.

Karim Masimov, the former head of Kazakhstan’s counter-intelligence and anti-terror agency, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government – days after Mr Tokayev removed him as head of the national security committee.

It is not clear why he was detained and no further details about the accusations have been disclosed.

The Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a Russia-led military alliance of six former Soviet states, agreed to send about 2,500 troops to Kazakhstan after an appeal from Mr Tokayev.

Source: Read Full Article