Conflicts & War

Kazakhstan places death toll of violent protests at 225

Nur-Sultan, Jan 15 (EFE).- Kazakh officials on Saturday said that 225 people had died during the violent protests that shook the Central Asian nation last week.

According to the Attorney General’s Office over 4,500 had been injured in what authorities have branded an “anti-terrorist” operation.

“Armed bandits” who participated in the attacks against official buildings and security forces died during the violent unrest that began with protests over rising energy prices, Serik Shalabaev, a representative of the state prosecutor, told reporters at a press briefing.

The 225 bodies had been “transported to the country’s morgues,” Shalabaev added.

Shalabaev added that 19 members of the security forces had also died and that so far “4,578 victims had also been identified.”

The criminal prosecution head said 4,353 people had been injured, including 3,393 members of Kazakh security forces.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev mentioned “the tragic events of January” in a Tweet published Friday.

On January 2 protests broke out over the rise in the price of liquefied gas, which is used as a cheap alternative to gasoline.

Tokayev announced a state of emergency and Russia led-troops quelled the violent protests.

The President said some 2,000 people had been arrested, however, the count provided by the authorities was closer to 10,000 detainees.

The protests, fueled by social discontent with the country’s political and economic elite and corruption, morphed into riots a few days after they broke out.

The Kazakh leader has justified his decision to forcibly squash the protests, saying some 20,000 insurgents, including international terrorists and armed bandits, were trying to carry out a coup in Kazakhstan.

So far the Kazakh president has not presented proof of these claims.

“During the events of Tragic January and the subsequent state of emergency approximately two thousand people were detained for various offenses. Those who committed serious crimes will be punished in accordance with the law,” Tokayev warned.EFE


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