In chaos, Kazakhstan calls on Moscow for help

Statues of Nursultan Nazarbayev, central figure of the country, debunked, official buildings ransacked, seats of the ruling party devastated, police cars set on fire … The anger generated by the sudden increase in the price of fuels, in particular liquefied petroleum gas (GPL), turned into riot and chaos in Kazakhstan, shattering the image of immutable stability of this former Soviet Republic built since its independence, thirty years ago.

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From “Tens” demonstrators were killed on the night of Wednesday 5 to Thursday 6 January in the city of Almaty, the economic capital of the country, located in the South-East and within a few hours became the epicenter of the riots. “Last night, extremist forces attempted to storm administrative buildings, the Almaty city police department, as well as local departments and police stations. Dozens of attackers were eliminated ”, Police spokesman Saltanat Azirbek announced Thursday morning, quoted by Russian agencies Interfax-Kazakhstan, TASS and RIA Novosti.

LPG price doubled

The Kazakh interior ministry also put forward the number of twelve dead in the ranks of the security forces and three hundred and fifty-three injured. Other cities in this Central Asian country of just over 18 million inhabitants, the size of five times France, were also won over by the protest whose demands quickly turned in favor of change. diet. 230 kilometers north of Almaty, in Taldykorgan, Akimat, the seat of the administration was thus engulfed in flames. “More than a thousand people were injured as a result of the riots in different regions of Kazakhstan, nearly four hundred of them were hospitalized and sixty-two are in intensive care”, said a little later the deputy minister of health, Ajar Guiniat, on the air of the channel Khabar-24.

Despite the general cut-off of the Internet and mobile communications, and the establishment of a state of emergency throughout the country, many images of chaos and routed police have circulated on the networks. social. Some show police and soldiers fraternizing with the demonstrators. Others, scenes of great violence, where individuals seemed to have been hit by live ammunition.

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In a brief Russian-language speech broadcast on state television on Wednesday afternoon, President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev, 68, denounced both “Conspirators motivated by gain” and “Very well organized hooligans” having “Scrupulously planned their actions”. The facts suggest, on the contrary, that it was the government’s brutal liberalization of fuel prices, and in particular LPG, that initially sparked the anger. Hotbeds of discontent are among the regions where LPG, the price of which has just doubled, is the most widely used fuel.

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In chaos, Kazakhstan calls on Moscow for help

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