Protests in Kazakhstan due to the rise in gas leave dozens dead and a thousand injured

Dozens of protesters were killed by the Police and more than 1,000 were injured in Kazakhstan The authorities indicated this Thursday, January 6, the same day that Russia and its allies sent troops to face the violent disturbances in the country.

The anger, which began in provincial areas on Sunday over rising gas prices, spread to the country’s largest city, Almaty, where it turned into a riot as protesters seized government buildings and briefly the custom-built airport. looting increased.

Faced with the chaos, neighboring Russia and its allies from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) announced this Thursday the dispatch to Kazakhstan of the first contingent of a “collective peacekeeping force” at the request of the authoritarian government of this Central Asian country.

The contingent made up of Russian, Belarusian, Armenian, Tajik and Kyrgyz troops will have the mission of “protecting state or military installations” and “helping the Kazakh forces of order to stabilize the situation and restore the rule of law.”

The Kazakh President, Kassym Jomart Tokayev has so far failed to quell the protests despite concessions on gas prices, the resignation of the Government and the introduction of the state of emergency, as well as the curfew night in the country.

On Thursday, the police reported that “dozens” of protesters had been killed trying to take over administrative buildings and police stations. The Ministry of Health indicated that there were more than 1,000 injured, including 62 in intensive care.

In addition, 13 members of the security forces died, two of whom were found beheaded and 353 were injured, according to state television.

Images disseminated by the media and social networks showed scenes of chaos with shops looted and some administrative buildings attacked and set on fire in Almaty, the economic capital of the country, while shots of automatic weapons were heard.

The Central Bank spokeswoman Oljassa Ramazanova announced the suspension of the work of all financial institutions in the country, where the internet does not work.

The airports in Almaty, in the cities of Aktobe, Aktau and the capital Nursultan, were not operational on Thursday after the cancellation of flights the day before.

As a result of the chaos, the price of uranium, of which Kazakhstan is one of the world’s leading producers, rose sharply, while the prices of domestic companies plummeted on the London Stock Exchange.

The nation is also a center for bitcoin mining, an activity that is also experiencing a sharp decline.

The Kazakh president introduced emergency measures to “stabilize the work of public services, transport and infrastructure”; reinforce the preparation of the security forces; and restore the work of the banks. The export of certain types of food was banned to stabilize prices.

Tokayev said last Wednesday that “terrorist gangs” who had “received extensive training abroad” were leading the protests.

“Groups of criminal elements beat our soldiers, humiliate them, drag them naked through the streets, attack women and loot shops,” he said in a televised speech.

In the last nights the Police had fired stun grenades and tear gas into the crowd but it failed to prevent some administrative buildings from breaking in.

According to media and witnesses on social networks, the protesters went to the city hall and the presidential residence of Almaty, among other places, to set them on fire. Five television networks were looted.

This Thursday it was impossible to get a complete picture of the situation in the country. Journalists and witnesses could not be reached online or by phone, both cut off.

The anger of the protesters is directed in particular at the former president Nursultan Nazarbayev 81-year-old, who ruled the country from 1989 to 2019 and maintains great influence. He is considered the mentor of the current President Tokayev.

Kazakhstan The largest of the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the largest economy in the region, it has a large Russian minority, making it of crucial economic and geopolitical importance to Russia.

Moscow He called on Wednesday that the crisis be resolved through dialogue “and not with street riots and violating the laws.” U.S and the European Union They requested “moderation” from all parties.