AGI – (Article updated at 7, 20 of 7 January 2022)
26 people were killed in the repression of protests in Kazakhstan by the authorities: the Kazakh Ministry of the Interior released the data of what it calls an “anti-terrorism operation”; and in addition to giving the toll of the “armed criminals” killed by the Kazakh forces, he announced that more than 3 thousand “criminals” were arrested and that 18 “armed” people were injured.
The authorities in the past few hours had announced the death of at least 18 law enforcement officers, two of whom were found beheaded, again according to the official version. In addition to all regions being “freed and placed under greater protection”, the ministry announced that “70 checkpoints” have been set up.
Kazakh President Kasym Jomart Tokayev defines protesters who have taken to the streets since January 2 as “terrorists”, initially due to the increase in the price of LPG, and argues that the protests are orchestrated and instigated by outside forces, even if they have not revealed their identity.
The Kazakh Interior Ministry announced that, in the protests that went on for days in the country, 26 “armed criminals” were killed and 18 were injured.
In addition to all regions being “freed and placed under greater protection”, the ministry announced that “70 checkpoints” have been set up.
A Russian military contingent arrived in Kazakhstan to stabilize the country after the popular uprising against the rise in gas prices which therefore caused dozens of deaths, including 18 law enforcement officers, with 2,200 arrests and over a thousand injured.
The very high tension in the former Soviet republic prompted the president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, to ask for help from neighboring countries, members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which also includes Belarus, Tajikistan and Armenia. The contingent of 2,500 Russian-led soldiers will have to support the Kazakh forces in guaranteeing public order.
Meanwhile the protests do not stop, gradually becoming wider until power itself in the country is targeted. The Kazakh security forces cleared the main square of Almaty, driving out the demonstrators present. The Kazakh authorities, reported the Russian press agencies, have regained control of the town hall and the presidential residence, set on fire by the rioters.
There are still difficulties in accessing the internet. Public television this morning reported that access had been restricted for security reasons. In the afternoon the web was back to work, but two hours later it was again blocked in the capital Nur-Sultan and in the financial capital, Almaty.
Protesters also have stormed the headquarters of five television stations in Almaty, after storming public buildings.
Almaty, Aktay and Aktobe airports are closed. The one in Almaty, an official explained, was devastated by the demonstrators who had occupied it.
The terminal and duty free areas were destroyed and looted, but the security forces have regained control of the airport. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, “the latest developments in Afghanistan are an attempt, inspired from the outside, to violently undermine the security and integrity of the country”.
Russia, the ministry added, “will continue consultations with Kazakhstan and with the other countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization for further initiatives to be developed, if necessary, to facilitate counter-terrorism operations in Kazakhstan”.
The US has instead warned Moscow that it will monitor the respect of human rights by Russian soldiers. “We will also ensure that there is no act that can lay the groundwork for the takeover of institutions in the country,” added US State Department spokesman Ned Price. For its part, the UN has asked all parties in Kazakhstan to refrain from violence.