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Kazakhstan: Over 4,200 People Detained By Police As Riots Continue In The Country

As Kazakhstan continues to be rocked with unrest, more than 4,200 people have been detained in the country, stated the interior ministry, according to a report.


Image: AP

As Kazakhstan continues to be rocked with unrest, more than 4,200 people have been detained in the country, according to the interior ministry. The chaos in Kazakhstan began last week triggered by a massive increase in fuel prices with people flooding the streets in Zhanaozen and Aktau before spreading to the rest of the nation and turning into a violent riot. According to Sputnik, the Kazakh Interior Ministry said in a statement that a total of 4,266 people have been taken to police.

"A total of 4,266 people have been taken to police. In one of the villages of the Almaty Region, more than 100 people have been detained. According to preliminary data, they are citizens of a neighbouring country", the Interior Ministry said in a statement, as per the report.

The detention of thousands of people followed the televised address of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Friday, who authorised the security forces to shoot the ones participating in the unrest. The Central Asian country is presently experiencing its worst street protests since gaining independence from the Soviet Union at least three decades ago. Dozens of people have been killed in the unrest, which has brought global attention to citizens’ wider discontent with the authoritarian rule.

Tokayev used harsh rhetoric in his address and referred to the ones involved in the turmoil and called them “terrorists”, “bandits” and “militants”. However, as per AP, it still remains unclear what caused the peaceful protests to first become violent. Till now, no protest leaders have emerged. Kazakh President said, “I have given the order to law enforcement and the army to shoot to kill without warning…Those who don’t surrender will be eliminated.”

Tokayev said that the peacekeeping forces sent by Russia and other neighbouring states had arrived in Kazakhstan at his request and will remain in the country on a temporary basis in a bid to ensure security. The Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) reportedly sent a force of about 2,500 soldiers. For this, Tokayev gave “special thanks" to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Unrest in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan was hit by a wave of protests triggered by a two-fold increase in fuel prices, but they turned violent on Wednesday when protesters in Almaty stormed the presidential residence and the mayor’s office and set both on fire, as per media reports. Initially, protests started with people in Zhanaozen and Aktau opposing fuel prices hike for liquefied natural gas. The unrest then spread to other cities including the nation’s most populous city, Almaty. Clashes between protesters and security forces took place in Almaty on 4-5 January before further escalating into a violent riot.

However, following the grim developments including the riot and the resignation of the government due to unrest, BBC stated that Kazakhstan’s government has agreed to restore the vehicle fuel price caps for six months. In the same period of 180 days, the petrol and diesel prices will also be capped. LPG prices had doubled after the limit was removed this week, triggering demonstrations that turned into deadly unrest in the Central Asian country.

Image: AP


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