12 police officers, dozens of protesters dead in Kazakhstan unrest

Rallies that began as a protest of fuel prices have morphed to reflect discontent with the ruling party

By Suzie Ziegler 

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Violent unrest in the Central Asia nation of Kazakhstan resulted in dozens of deaths overnight Wednesday, including 12 police officers. The Associated Press reports that protests started over rising fuel prices but have come to reflect a broader discontent with authoritarian rule. 

On Wednesday, protesters stormed government buildings in Almaty — the country’s largest city — and set some ablaze. 

A police spokesperson said “dozens of attackers were liquidated,” using a term used to describe killing people thought to be extremists, according to the Associated Press. 

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency and called on a Russian-based military group to help quell the violence, according to Al Jazeera. An unspecified number of troops have been approved “for a limited period with the aim of stabilization and normalization of the situation,” the report says. Meanwhile, multiple sources including Al Jazeera and The Independent are reporting that the country is experiencing an internet blackout with limited access to Kazakh news sites. 

The anti-government demonstrations are largely tied to resentment towards former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to Al Jazeera. Nazarbayev stepped down in 2019 but remains influential.  

More than 1,000 people have been injured during the unrest, according to The Independent. The Associated Press reports that 353 police officers have been injured.


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