Constitutional order restored in all parts of Kazakhstan: President
26 protesters dead, 18 injured in anti-government demonstrations, says Interior Ministry
NUR SULTAN, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan's constitutional order has been restored in all parts of the country, the country's president said on Friday.
According to a press statement by the Presidency, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told officials in a meeting on counter-terrorism that an anti-terror operation had begun, noting that law enforcement forces had been deployed and were working hard in the former Soviet country.
"The constitutional order was restored in general in all parts of the country. Local authorities are in control of the situation. But, terrorists still continue to use weapons and damage people's property. So, the counter-terrorism operation will continue until the militants are completely destroyed," he said.
Touching on the deployment of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping troops in Kazakhstan, the statement stressed that these troops came to the Central Asian nation for a "limited time to fulfill the function of protecting and guarding strategic places."
Earlier, Tokayev had requested assistance from the CSTO, a military alliance that brings together six former Soviet republics and Russia, to put an end to the riots in the country, which he described as "a terrorist threat."
26 protestors killed
The country's Interior Ministry announced that 26 protesters had lost their lives and another 18 were injured in the anti-government demonstrations.
The statement noted that the operation was launched as the state of emergency continues in Kazakhstan since it was declared on Tuesday.
It also said government and municipality buildings in all cities had been cleared and 70 checkpoints were erected across the country.
"Security forces ensured social order in the city of Almaty and protected strategic places. Clearing operations continue on the streets," it said.
It also underlined that the terror danger level was raised to "critical red."
Over 3,000 people were detained in the incidents, the statement read.
Protests in Kazakhstan
The protests broke out on Jan. 2, when drivers in the city of Zhanaozen in the country’s oil-rich Mangystau region staged demonstrations against huge price hikes for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which later spread to the city of Aktau.
Supportive protests in the western cities of Atyrau, Aktobe, and Oral, where the country’s petroleum and natural gas reserves are located, spread to other corners of Kazakhstan and turned into public demonstrations.
As the protests spread across the country, Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the city of Almaty and the Mangystau region for Jan. 5-19 to maintain public security. He also imposed a curfew in Almaty, the country’s former capital, where thousands of people had taken to the streets.
While police used stun grenades and teargas to disperse the protesters, they responded with stones. Clashes were also reported between the police and demonstrators.
Tokayev accepted the government’s resignation in a presidential decree. Later, demonstrations reached a nationwide level, followed by a countrywide state of emergency.
The government also decided on Wednesday to introduce price controls on LPG, gasoline, diesel fuel, and basic food products for 180 days.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara, TurkiyeAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.