Security forces in Kazakhstan killed “dozens” of protesters overnight as they tried to storm administrative buildings in the country’s biggest city Almaty, police told local media on Thursday, as demonstrators rallied against the government for a third day.
Several armoured personnel carriers and dozens of troops moving on foot were seen entering the main square of Almaty early on Thursday, a day after the country embattled president appealed for help from a Russia-led security alliance.
Gunshots were heard as security forces approached the crowd, according to Reuters witnesses.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of former Soviet states, said Russia had sent paratroopers to Kazakhstan to help quell the unrest.
Around the country, protests triggered by a fuel price rise killed eight police and national guard troops on Tuesday and Wednesday, prompting President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to declare a state of emergency.
TASS news agency quoted the Kazakh health ministry as saying more than 1,000 people had been injured during the unrest, and more than 400 of them were in hospital.
State television reported on Thursday that the National Bank of Kazakhstan had decided to suspend work of banks in the country for the safety of their workers. The Internet in the country is mostly down.
Kazakh president appeals for international help after protests turn deadly
The unrest began as protests against the rising price of liquefied petroleum gas, a fuel used by the poor to power their cars, but has since turned into anti-government riots feeding off deep-seated resentment over three decades of rule by former president Nursultan Nazarbayev and his hand-picked successor.
Nazarbayev, 81, has been widely seen as the main political force in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital which bears his name. His family is believed to control much of the economy, the largest in Central Asia. He has not been seen or heard from since the protests began.
The Central Asian nation’s reputation for stability under Nazarbayev helped attract hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment in its oil and metals industries.
But a younger generation is demanding the liberalisation seen in other former satellite states of the Soviet Union. The protests are the worst in Kazakhstan – a country five times the size of France with a population of nearly 19 million people – in over a decade.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
Source: Thanks france24