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Thousands of arrests after riots in Kazakhstan

Thousands of people have been arrested across the country in the wake of serious unrest in Central Asian Kazakhstan. “So far, 5,135 people have been arrested throughout Kazakhstan,” the Interior Ministry of the autocratic-led former Soviet republic said in the capital, Nur-Sultan, this morning. Judicial authorities have launched investigations with those arrested for various crimes.

It added that 16 members of the security forces were killed during the riots. In addition, about 1,300 security guards were injured. Authorities had previously reported more than 40 deaths – including security forces. No more accurate figures were available for civilian casualties today.

AP / NUR.KZ / Vladimir Tretyakov

The current Minister of the Interior, Erlan Turgumbayev, told “Chapar 24” television station that the detainees were accused, among other things, of destroying more than 100 commercial centers or bank buildings. And destroyed about 400 cars during the riots, mostly police cars.

The authorities are trying to get life back to normal

Meanwhile, the authorities have tried to return life to normal in the country. The Ministry of Commerce said, according to TASS, that for this purpose, the supply of basic foodstuffs to remote areas has been secured. The Energy Ministry said supplies of fuel and liquefied gas had also begun.

President Kassim Shomart Tokayev on Friday ordered the police and army to shoot “without warning” protesters, whom he described as “terrorists” and “bandits”. It was feared that there would be many civilian deaths – especially in Almaty, a city of over a million people in southeastern Kazakhstan, which was badly shaken by the riots.

Kazakhstan, which borders Russia and China, has been experiencing the worst riots in years for days. In many places, resentment over rising fuel prices at gas stations has turned into peaceful, but sometimes violent, protests against the government. Tokayev declared a state of emergency and asked for help from a military coalition led by Russia.

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