The president of Kazakhstan, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, yesterday rejected any negotiation with the protesters and authorized the security forces to fire “without prior notice” to put an end to the protests that are shaking the country, statements that raised international concern.
(Read here: What’s happening in Kazakhstan? Keys to understanding the crisis)
The largest country in Central Asia has been the scene of a revolt that broke out in the provinces on Sunday, after a rise in the gas price, and spread to other cities, and especially to Almaty, the economic capital, where the demonstrations turned violent and chaotic riots.
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What kind of negotiation can you have with criminals, with murderers? We have faced armed and trained bandits (…) We must destroy them and that is what we will do in a short time
A contingent of Russian troops and troops from other allied countries (around 2,500 troops) arrived in this former Soviet republic on Thursday to support the government and protect official buildings, along with local security forces.
In this regard, Tokayev thanked the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who “responded very quickly” to her request for help. “I have given the order to shoot to kill without warning,” Tokayev said in a television speech, adding that “terrorists continue to damage property and use weapons against citizens.”
Tokayev rejected any negotiations and promised to “eliminate” the “bandits” who have caused these riots, who according to him are “20,000” and had “a clear plan”. “What type of negotiation can be had with criminals, with murderers? We have faced armed and trained bandits (…) We must destroy them and that is what we will do in a short time,” he added.
Given these harsh statements by the Kazakh president, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the French president, Emmanuel macron, asked for their part the “end of violence” and “moderation.” Instead, Chinese President Xi Jinping applauded the “strong measures” taken by the Kazakh government against the protesters.
(Also: Riots in Kazakhstan Kill Dozens of Protesters)
For its part, the UN on Friday called on all parties to the crisis in Kazakhstan to respect human rights and avoid violence after the president’s “shoot to kill” order. “In any situation, it is clearly necessary to respect human rights and international standards when public order is restored,” said United Nations spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.
For its part, US diplomacy warned Russian troops against any violation of human rights or attempts to “take control” of the country’s institutions.
The Government of Kazakhstan also said yesterday that constitutional order had been “largely restored in all regions,” as the Russian military deployed began “to shed some of the tasks assigned to them,” according to Moscow.
According to the Ministry of the Interior of Kazakhstan, 26 “armed criminals” were killed. For their part, the security forces reported 18 dead and 748 wounded among their troops. Authorities have established 70 checkpoints across the country and, so far, more than 3,800 people have been detained.
(Also: Kazakhstan declares state of emergency after unprecedented wave of protests)
However, these figures have not been able to be compared with any independent source, and the government has not provided any balance of civilians, apart from the protesters.
At the moment, the scenario in the country is one of chaos. In a financial district, which had all its banks closed, the police yesterday stopped and searched those cars with drivers considered suspicious.
Most flights to the country were canceled and Russian press agencies reported, citing Kazakh officials, that the Almaty airport will only be operational for military flights until Sunday.
The intensity and the suddenness of these riots have had an impact on Kazakhstan, a country of 19 million inhabitants, rich in natural resources and reputed for its stable and authoritarian government.
Aside from the rise in gas prices, the protesters’ anger was directed at 81-year-old former President Nursultán Nazarbayev, who led the country autocratically from 1989 to 2019, and retains great influence. He is also considered the mentor of the current president. Some Kazakh media claimed that Nazarbayev and his family left Kazakhstan, but this information could not be verified with an independent source.
AFP AND EFE
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