Armored military transporters and Kazakh troops entered the main square of Almaty on Thursday morning, where hundreds of people demonstrated against the Kazakh authorities for the third day in a row, Reuters reported. As the agency added, citing witnesses’ reports, shots from firearms were heard in the area. After several hours of clashes, the situation in the city calmed down.
According to Reuters, on Thursday morning, soldiers supported by several armored personnel carriers entered the main square of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, where hundreds of people have been demonstrating against the government for several days. Witnesses cited by the agency claim that during the military intervention, firearms were heard.
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According to the TASS agency citing local sources, the military has started “an operation to clear the city of disturbing elements.” Kazakh police, quoted by Interfax, reported that “dozens of rioters have been eliminated,” and their identities are now being identified
After several hours of clashes, the situation in the city calmed down.
President of Kazakhstan: groups of criminal elements beat our soldiers
– Yesterday night extremist forces tried to storm administrative buildings, Almaty city police headquarters, as well as local departments and police stations, said police spokesman Saltanat Azirbek, adding that an “anti-terrorist operation” is underway in one of Almaty’s districts.
According to the Kazakh Ministry of the Interior, quoted by local media, so far at least eight members of the security forces have been killed and 317 injured. The president of Kazakhstan said on Wednesday that the demonstrations were led by “terrorist gangs who had undergone extensive training abroad.” “Criminal groups beating our soldiers, humiliating them, dragging them naked in the streets, attacking women, looting shops,” the president said in a Wednesday TV speech.
Kazakhstan’s health ministry said on Thursday that over 1,000 people had suffered in the riots, and nearly 400 were hospitalized. 62 people are in intensive care units.
Internet problems, canceled flights to Almaty
In the face of problems in the functioning of the Internet, the spokesman for the Central Bank, Oljass Ramazanowa, announced the suspension of the work of all financial institutions in the country.
Following the seizure of the airport in Almaty by protesters, two Middle Eastern airlines canceled return flights to Kazakhstan on Thursday. It concerns the connection of the Flydubai line from Dubai to Almaty and the Air Arabia line from Sharjah to Almaty.
Forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization sent to Kazakhstan
On Wednesday evening, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that “peace forces” of the Collective Security Treaty Organization would be sent to Kazakhstan to stabilize the situation in the country.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirmed the sending of Russian peacekeepers to Kazakhstan on Thursday. “Currently, the Russian part of the peace contingent is deployed to the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan by military transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force. These units have already started fulfilling their assigned tasks,” Zakharov wrote on Telegram.
Protests in Kazakhstan
Protests in Kazakhstan against the price hikes of liquefied gas used as fuel, which had lasted for several days, turned into violent riots on Wednesday, and the economic demands of the demonstrators turned into political ones. The protesters are demanding a departure from the policy of the previous president, 81-year-old Nursultan Nazarbayev, who, according to them, the new president Kasym-Żomart Tokayev took over only formally. Tokayev described the protests as an “act of external aggression” and called for help from the heads of state of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB) led by Russia. On Wednesday morning, the president accepted the resignation of the government, the resignation of which was one of the demands of the protesters.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STR