Kazakhstan: 164 killed in protests, authorities say situation stable

i24NEWS

3 min read
A police van, which was burned after clashes, remains in an empty street in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Vasily KrestyaninovA police van, which was burned after clashes, remains in an empty street in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 8, 2022.

About 5,800 people were also detained by police during the violent protests

Kazakhstan’s health ministry said Sunday that 164 people were killed in protests that rocked the country over the past week.

It is not clear whether the death toll refers only to civilians or if law-enforcement deaths were included, but the figures reported by the state news agency Khabar-24 noted a significant rise from previous tallies.

Kazakh authorities announced earlier Sunday that 16 police or national guard officers were killed, and put the civilian death toll at 26, AP News reported.

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About 5,800 people were detained by police during the violent protests, according to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s office, prompting a Russia-led military alliance to mobilize troops to the country.

Tokayev’s office also said Sunday that the situation was stable across the country as authorities regained control of “strategic facilities.”

On Friday, Tokayev authorized troops to “fire without warning” on protestors, dismissing international calls for restraint as "nonsense.”

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The airport in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty, which was taken by protestors last week, remains closed but is expected to resume operations this week, according to AP News.

Unrest erupted after the liquified petroleum gas price more than doubled. 

Tokayev argued that the demonstrations were ignited by “terrorists” with foreign backing, and a statement from his office said those detained included “a sizeable number of foreign nationals” without giving further details.

It was unclear how many of those detained remain in custody.