- 164 people were killed in serious unrest in Central Asia, Kazakhstan. This came on state television, citing the Ministry of Health.
- The authorities had earlier reported more than 40 dead, including at least 16 police officers and soldiers.
- According to official information, more than 2,200 people have been infected so far.
In the city of Almaty, severely shaken by unrest, 103 people are said to have died – including two children. Especially here, about 1,100 people asked for medical help, state television reported, citing the authorities.
Independent information is still sparse. So it is still not clear how many civilians were killed. This is due to the difficulty of the source situation: the authoritarian Kazakh authorities have repeatedly shut down the Internet in many places. The country also closed its borders to foreigners. In Almaty, cellular communication is constantly interrupted.
Unrest in the former Soviet republic, which borders China and Russia, has been going on for a week. President Kassim Shomart Tokayev on Friday ordered the police and army to shoot “without warning” protesters, whom he described as “terrorists” and “bandits”. The authoritarian authorities say the situation is now under control.
Fuel prices sparked protests
The unrest erupted in Kazakhstan a week ago due to discontent over high fuel prices at petrol stations in the oil and gas-rich country. The demonstrations turned into protests, including violent protests, against the government.
Many people are frustrated by the corruption and abuse of power in the country. They are unhappy with the country’s authoritarian leadership and Nursultan Nazarbayev, who ruled the country for nearly 30 years until 2019. Many people accuse the country’s elite of enriching themselves, while the vast majority of the population of about 19 million remains poor.
As the presidential office announced after another crisis meeting, operations against the demonstrators are continuing. “Measures are being taken to locate and arrest the terrorists,” he added. She added that so far, nearly 6000 people have been arrested, including many foreigners. Tokayev claimed that the demonstrators received support from abroad.
Togef breaks down the structures of power
Kasim Shomart Tokayev has been headed since the resignation of the first Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev. However, the main forces remained in the hands of the 81-year-old Nazarbayev, which is why there were two main centers of power in the country. The turmoil is now creating a new order with 68-year-old Tokayev at the center.
The former diplomat greatly destroyed Nazarbayev’s power base: he not only dismissed the government of Askar Mamin, a confidant of Nazarbayev. The president took over from Nazarbayev the presidency of the Security Council, which was very powerful. Tokayev replaced the powerful intelligence leadership with those close to him. Former intelligence chief Karim Massimo was arrested on charges of high treason.
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