Kazakhstan security forces claim to have murdered scores of anti-government protesters in Almaty, the country’s capital.
Kazakhstan protest: Scores dead in clampdown on uproar in Kazakhstan, authorities claim crackdown was enforced as the protesters made a move to seize stations of the police across the city.
According to a police spokeswoman, they moved in after demonstrators attempted to take control of police stations throughout the city.
The turmoil, which was prompted by a tripling in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas, has resulted in the deaths of 12 security personnel and the injuries of 353 others (LPG).
The Kazakhstan president has requested that Russia deploy troops.
They will be stationed in the country to help “stabilize” it, which is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alongside Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia.
Russian paratroopers are being dispatched as peacekeepers, according to the CSTO, with advance groups already deployed.
Protests began on Sunday as the government raised the price cap on LPG, which many people use to power their vehicles, but the discontent has now grown to include political complaints.
What level of danger has the Kazakhstan protest reached?
It’s impossible to get a clear picture of what’s going on because of a “nationwide internet outage,” according to monitoring groups, and there are claims that security forces have sided with demonstrators in some areas.
On Thursday, Almaty police spokesperson Saltanat Azirbek advised residents to stay at home as a “counter-terrorism” operation continued in three administrative buildings.
She stated dozens of attackers were “eliminated” after attempting to storm police buildings in the city, and that protesters took guns.
Approximately 1,000 people are said to have been injured as a result of the turmoil, with 400 of them being treated in hospitals and 62 in intensive care.
Protesters also targeted Almaty’s mayor’s office and Kazakhstan’s principal airport, while water cannons were deployed on demonstrators in Aktobe, Kazakhstan’s western metropolis.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared a state of emergency across the country, imposing a curfew and prohibiting public gatherings.
He also fired his powerful predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had been in charge of national security since stepping down as president, as well as the entire cabinet.
Why Interest From Russia?
President Tokayev blamed the unrest on foreign-trained “terrorist gangs” and claimed that he had sought assistance from the CSTO, an alliance of former Soviet states dominated by Russia.
The current chairman of the CSTO, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, stated that peacekeeping soldiers would be sent “for a short length of time.”
A small group of Russian soldiers were seen boarding a military transport plane in a video posted by Russian media. The peacekeeping force will be deployed to Kazakhstan to assist with the protection of governmental and military installations, according to the alliance.
The CSTO was formed about 30 years ago, shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, as a military alliance to fight external threats.
When ethnic violence erupted in Kyrgyzstan in 2010, Russia turned down a request from the CSTO to send in peacekeepers, claiming it was a domestic affair.
Why is fuel such a contentious topic?
According to the Reuters news agency, LPG (butane and propane) is used to refuel as much as 90% of automobiles in some parts of Kazakhstan, including the Mangistau district, where the protests began.
Despite being a big oil producer, Kazakhstan experienced LPG shortages on a regular basis because producers were able to get a better price by exporting.
Prices reportedly jumped from 50 ($0.11; £0.08) to 120 tenges per litre when the government lifted its price cap on 1 January.
The administration has since announced that the 50-tenge cap will be reinstated in Mangistau.
Where is Kazakhstan?
Kazakhstan is bordered to the north by Russia and to the east by China. It is a massive country the size of Western Europe, dwarfing the other former Soviet republics of Central Asia in terms of landmass.