About 20 killed in riots in Kazakhstan

(Prensa Latina) Kazakhstan’s security forces reported the deaths of a dozen protesters in an operation to restore order in Almaty, the largest city in the country.

According to a police spokesperson, the events began on Wednesday night, when rioters tried to take control of several police stations in the city.

In addition to the deceased, eight members of the security forces lost their lives during the clashes.

The Ministry of Health also reported this Thursday over a thousand injured in different regions of the country, of them, about 400 hospitalized and 62 in intensive care, because of the clashes between law enforcement and protesters, according to the Khabar 24 television channel.

The administrative buildings of Almaty and the city’s Police Department were attacked by rioters early in the morning, and “dozens of attackers were liquidated” according to the spokesman for the local Police, Saltanat Azirbek, who stressed that the operation, which he called “counter-terrorist”, continues in the area where the Almaty government buildings are located. The official also urged the residents and guests of the city not to leave their homes for their own safety.

The presidential residence has been cordoned off by riot police, police cars patrol the city and all bank branches and exchange offices are closed by decision of the National Bank.

The President of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev ordered taking urgent measures in order to protect embassies and foreign investment entities deployed in the country, his office indicated on his website; the Foreign Ministry was tasked with guaranteeing “permanent contacts with the foreign states, international organizations and other partners of the country on all current issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

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