Kazakhstan detains nearly 1,700 people over riots | Protest News

Kazakh authorities have now arrested around 12,000 people suspected of participating in anti-government protests.

Authorities in Kazakhstan said they had detained nearly 1,700 more people in the past 24 hours for their alleged involvement in anti-government protests that rocked the former Soviet state last week.

Authorities in Almaty, the country’s largest city and home to the most violent clashes, reported 1,678 arrests on Wednesday, bringing the total number of detainees to about 12,000 since the demonstrations began on January 2.

More than 300 criminal investigations have been opened, including suspected assaults against law enforcement officers.

Protests initially erupted in the resource-rich Central Asian country of 19 million over soaring fuel prices and quickly spread across the country, turning into anti-government demonstrations featuring political slogans reflect wider dissatisfaction On the influence the country’s former longtime leader still wields Nursultan Nazarbayev.

At least 160 people killed, including dozens of citizens and more than a dozen members of the security forces, marking Kazakhstan deadliest outbreak of violence Since gaining independence more than 30 years ago.

In Almaty, protesters set fire to government buildings and briefly occupied the airport, while Security forces respond with live ammunition and stun grenades.

As unrest intensifies, President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev has tried to ease the crisis by announcing a 180-day cap on fuel prices, dismissing the country’s cabinet and firing Nazarbayev as head of the National Security Council .

Tokayev also ask for help From the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military coalition of six former Soviet states, for blaming the violence on foreign-trained “bandits and terrorists” without providing evidence .

The group’s response was More than 2,000 soldiers were dispatched Go to Kazakhstan to perform a “peacekeeping” mission.

On Wednesday, Tokayev announced the completion of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization coalition’s peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan, the group said.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization said it would take 10 days for the peacekeeping contingent to fully withdraw, a process that began on Thursday.

The 68-year-old, who was chosen as Nazarbayev’s successor in 2019, told a virtual high-level meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization on Tuesday that Kazakhstan had survived an “attempted coup”. .

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking alongside Tokayev, claimed victory in defending Kazakhstan from what he called a foreign-backed “terrorist” uprising.