- 225 people including security personnel have been killed during violent protests in Kazakhstan
- Mass protests began with people rallying against a steep hike in fuel prices.
- The government declared a state of emergency until January 19th.
Kazakhstan: Deadly violence in Kazakhstan that began with peaceful protests over energy prices and caused the government to call in help from a Russian-led military bloc killed 225 people, authorities have announced. “During the state of emergency, the bodies of 225 people were delivered to morgues, of which 19 were law enforcement officers and military personnel,” Serik Shalabayev, a representative of the state prosecutor, said at a briefing. Some others were “armed bandits who participated in terrorist attacks”, Shalabayev added.
“Unfortunately, civilians have also become victims of acts of terrorism.” Kazakhstan had previously acknowledged fewer than 50 deaths, 26 “armed criminals” and 18 security officers in the conflict that exposed infighting at the very top of the government. Asel Artakshinova, a spokeswoman for the health ministry, said more than 2,600 people sought treatment at hospitals, with 67 currently in a serious condition. Authorities in Kazakhstan have blamed the violence on bandits and international “terrorists” who they said hijacked the protests that saw the epicentre of unrest move from the west to the country’s largest city, Almaty.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to a Russia-led military bloc for help during the unrest and sidelined his former patron and predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev by taking over the National Security Council. Troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alliance of 6 former Soviet states, helped calm the violence in the Central Asian country and began a gradual withdrawal on Thursday. The government declared a state of emergency until January 19th. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which sent peacekeepers into Kazakhstan. The CSTO mission wrapped up earlier this week and peacekeepers began to withdraw on Thursday.