Kazakhstan President Orders Troops To Shoot At Protesters
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
ALMATY (Worthy News) – Kazakhstan’s authoritarian president has ordered troops to shoot at protesters without warning as unrest sparked by fuel prices threatened to escalate into civil war.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev blamed the violent protests on “terrorists” and “militants,” warning that “Those who don’t surrender will be eliminated.”
He also condemned calls for talks with the protesters made by some other countries saying Friday: “What negotiations can be held with criminals, murderers?”
Already dozens of innocent civilians were reportedly killed after a police spokesperson said dozens were “liquidated.”
Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry reported Friday that 26 protesters had been killed during the unrest, 18 were wounded, and more than 3,000 people have been detained. A total of 18 law enforcement officers have been reported killed as well, and over 700 sustained injuries.
In a concession, the government on Thursday announced a 180-day price cap on vehicle fuel and a moratorium on utility rate increases, but the measures did little to ease tensions.
Analysts said that anger over price hikes spread showed wider discontent with the party that has run this oil-producing nation since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Clashes in Almaty, the country’s largest city, reportedly continued early Friday. Russia’s state news agency Tass reported that the building occupied by the Kazakh branch of the Mir broadcaster, funded by several former Soviet states, was on fire
Earlier several government buildings were set ablaze amid deadly fighting between security forces and demonstrators.
Internet across the country has been shut down, and two airports closed, including one in Almaty, the country’s largest city.
Amid the turmoil, the president called on a Russia-led military alliance for help.
The alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan and started deploying peacekeepers in the country.
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