Kazakhstan Police on Thursday reported that dozens of people were killed in violent protests that led to attacks on government properties.
Police spokesperson Saltanat Azirbek announced on the government-run news station Khabar 24 that hundreds of angry protesters storm the buildings in the city of Almaty. Some of the attackers were able to infiltrate the building of the Mayor's office and set the place on fire. However, Azirbek added that there were "dozens of attackers" who got "liquidated."
Reports describe the current situation as the worst street protest in the oil-rich Central Asian country since it gained independence 30 years ago. The riots have set ablaze government buildings, which resulted in the death of no less than eight members of the law enforcement agency.
The protests began in western Kazakhstan on Sunday over soaring prices of liquified petroleum gas, which is being used to power cars in the country. Sooner, the patience of the people ran out and unrest had reached the largest city of the country, Almaty, and the capital Nur-Sultan as residents in nearby cities joined in the massive protests. Eventually, the protest had spread out to the rest of the country, according to the Associated Press.
Kazakhstan Government Resigns
In videos posted online by witnesses, enraged protesters seemed to have successfully broken through the barriers set by security forces at the airport, which paralyzed flights. Stun grenades were deployed by the military and the police whose explosions can be heard throughout the city streets.
Protesters also tore down the statue of the country's first President Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to Al Jazeera.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted the government's resignation on Wednesday after it failed to control the unrest. However, the protests continued, prompting the declaration of a state of emergency.
The Russia-led intergovernmental military alliance Collective Security Treaty Organization announced that it would deploy peacekeeper troops to Kazakhstan as requested by Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayevm, as per The Washington Post.
According to the statement of Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the chair of the allience, the deployment of troops will only be for a "limited period of time" to help in the stabilization of the situation in Kazakhstan. The statement was posted on Facebook as well as on Kremlin's website.
President Tokayev said he was prompted to seek the help of the CSTO in order to end the attacks which he connects to big terrorist groups.
"Given the fact that we are having to deal with international terrorist groups, which were thoroughly trained abroad, their attack on Kazakhstan can and should be regarded as an act of aggression," he said in a statement carried on Kazakh state television, as per Wall Street Journal.
Kazakhstan is five times the size of France with a population of almost 19 million. It is the richest and largest among the five Central Asian republics that gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The country currently sells most of its oil products to powerful neighboring countries Russia and China.