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▲ One of the government buildings burned down in the city center of Almaty after the violent protests of the population, not seen for years in the former Soviet nation. Afp photo

Ap, Afp, Sputnik and Xinhua

La Jornada newspaper
Saturday, January 8, 2022, p. 18

Almaty. The president of Kazakhstan, Ka-ssym Jomart Tokayev, yesterday rejected any negotiation with the protesters, who are celebrating five consecutive days of protests against his government and authorized the security forces to shoot to kill. He assured that the mobilizations are the work of terrorists and said that with the help of troops sent by Russia, yesterday order was restored throughout the country.

Riots broke out in the provinces on Sunday, following a rise in the price of gas, and the wave of protests spread to other cities, and especially to Almaty, the economic capital, where the demonstrations turned into violent riots. The security forces reported 18 civilian deaths, 748 wounded among their troops, and at least 4,200 detainees.

A contingent of Russian and other allied troops arrived in this former Soviet republic on Thursday to support the government and protect official buildings, along with local security forces.

Tokayev thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin, who responded very quickly to his request for help.

I have given the order to shoot to kill without warning, Tokayev declared in a speech broadcast on television, adding that terrorists continue to damage property and use weapons against citizens.

No one has identified himself as the leader of the protests, which also appear to be spontaneous and unorganized, according to the opinions of observers. Tokayev rejected any negotiation and promised to eliminate the bandits who have caused these disturbances, who according to him number 20,000 and had a clear plan.

What kind of negotiation can you have with criminals, with murderers? We have confronted armed and trained bandits (…) We must destroy them and that is what we will do in a short time, he added.

He considered that it is the free media and some people who, from abroad, play an instigating role in this crisis.

By nightfall on Friday, charred vehicles and pools of blood remained on the streets of Almaty, although vehicular and pedestrian traffic gradually resumed, while armored police trucks patrolled. The façade of the town hall, burned down on Wednesday, was blackened and smoke was still pouring out of the windows.

The government of Putin and Tokayev agreed to declare that order was restored in all Kazakh regions.

The Interior Ministry reported that 26 armed criminals were killed and that all administrative buildings were released and placed under greater protection, with 70 checkpoints installed in the country, according to a statement.

The anti-terrorist operation continues, the militants have not laid down their arms. Those who don’t give up will be eliminated, Tokayev added.

The authorities initially tried to calm the protesters, without success, by granting a drop in the price of gas, ousting the government and instituting a state of emergency and a night curfew throughout the country. Despite the price hike, the protesters’ anger was directed at 81-year-old former President Nursultán Nazarbayev, who ruled the country autocratically from 1989 to 2019, and retains great influence. He is also considered the mentor of the current president.

The Kazakh authorities decreed a state of emergency until January 19 and a curfew, which runs from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

On January 5, Tokayev accepted the resignation of the full government and assumed the leadership of the National Security Council, previously headed by Nazarbayev.

The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, criticized yesterday the presence of members of the Organization of the Treaty of the Collective Security in Kazakhstan, in the framework of the protests.

Blinken assured that, in his opinion, the authorities and the government of Kazakhstan have the ability to deal correctly with the protests, to do so in a way that respects the rights of the protesters while maintaining law and order, according to the television channel. CNN news.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called Blinken’s words about the role of Russian forces in Kazakhstan brazen, as the official commented: Once the Russians are in your house, it is sometimes difficult to make them leave.

Today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken brazenly joked about the tragic events in Kazakhstan, commented on Russian diplomacy on his institutional channel on the Telegram platform, and said: Once the Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive. .