D.he situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia, which has been badly shaken by riots, remains unclear. State television reported on Saturday night that security forces were continuing to crack down on demonstrators in several cities in the country. This information could not be independently verified. Most recently, the operations focused on the metropolis of Almaty, which has been rioting for days.
According to the portal Vlast.kz, there were shootings in at least two places in the economic metropolis. There were also explosions. Eyewitnesses reported a burning car. Security forces patrolled armored vehicles. Even at night, there was little independent information from there. The internet was at least temporarily switched off. Foreigners are currently not allowed into the ex-Soviet republic.
Heavy rioting for days
In the evening, President Kassym-Shomart Tokayev spoke of up to 20,000 “terrorists” who attacked Almaty in several waves. The “bandits and terrorists” are well trained and organized.
The country on the border with China, rich in oil and gas reserves, has been experiencing the worst riots in years for days. A good week ago, the unrest in the authoritarian republic was triggered by displeasure at the rise in gas prices. The demonstrations turned into protests, including violent ones, against the government. Many people are frustrated by corruption and abuse of power in the country.
This Saturday, it is expected that the authorities will provide further information on the deaths and arrests. State television reported on Friday that 26 demonstrators had already been killed. In addition, there have been more than 4,000 arrests across the country. It was feared that there could now be many more civilian deaths. According to official information, at least 18 police officers and soldiers have also died so far.
President Tokayev has given security forces an order to shoot protesters. He defended this on Twitter that night that there would be no talks with “terrorists” who killed people and set buildings on fire.
The act caused concern in the West. In Berlin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for an end to the violence. He appealed to the authoritarian leadership in Nur-Sultan: “Please come back to peaceful further development in the country.”
Because of the conflict, the federal government stops exports of armaments to the former Soviet republic. As the news agency dpa reported, the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that such goods are no longer exported to Kazakhstan. Last year, 25 licenses for the export of armaments to Kazakhstan with a total value of around 2.2 million euros were granted.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance and its member states were very concerned and regretted the deaths. It is important that the violence ends and that human rights are respected. This included the right to peaceful demonstrations.
Telephone conversation with Lukashenko
The protesters’ displeasure was also directed against the authoritarian ex-long-term ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev. The now 81-year-old resigned in 2019. But he was still considered the most powerful man in the state. Tokayev deposed him as head of the Security Council on Wednesday. Since then, there have been rumors that the 81-year-old has left the country.
The Belarusian ruler Alexandr Lukashenko telephoned Nazarbayev on Friday evening, as reported by the state agency Belta in Minsk. It was about the situation in Kazakhstan. However, no information was given about the ex-president’s whereabouts.
Tokayev had surprisingly asked a Russian-dominated military alliance for support. The organization of the collective security treaty sent a total of 2,500 soldiers from the allies to Kazakhstan, including Russian paratroopers. That sparked concern in the West.
The Eastern Europe expert Alexander Libman from the Free University of Berlin told the portal “Watson”: “I am shocked by how quickly Kazakhstan asked for military aid – and how quickly it got it.” Russian President Vladimir Putin took advantage of the situation. “But I cannot yet understand whose side the initiative comes from. It doesn’t look like it came from Russia, because Kazakhstan was very sovereign and was always careful to avoid becoming dependent on Russia. “
Kazakhstan is one of the most important crude oil suppliers in Germany and the EU. Tokayev wrote to business abroad that night: “The policy of open doors to foreign direct investment will remain a core strategy of Kazakhstan.”
#Unrest #Kazakhstan #media #report #explosions #Almaty