Kazakhstan’s largest city back online after clashes, blackout - GulfToday

Kazakhstan’s largest city back online after clashes, blackout


A man walks past the building, which was damaged during the protests, of the Nur Otan ruling party in Almaty. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

The internet returned to Kazakhstan's largest city on Monday after a five-day blackout as deadly clashes left dozens dead and the financial hub of 1.8 million people reeling, an AFP correspondent reported.

Kazakhstan authorities said Sunday that 164 people, including a 4-year-old girl, were killed in a week of protests that marked the worst unrest since the former Soviet republic gained independence 30 years ago.


19 people including 9 children killed in New York apartment fire

India's new coronavirus cases surge to 179,723

Almaty, Kazakhstan's former capital, had been nearly completely offline since Wednesday, but local and foreign websites were accessible again Monday, which was declared a day of mourning following the worst unrest in the ex-Soviet republic's independent history.

Russian military vehicles drive upon arrival in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Reuters

The office of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said order has been restored in the Central Asian country and that the government has regained control of all buildings that were taken over by the protesters. Some of the buildings were set on fire.

Kazakhstan has framed the violence in Almaty as an attack by "terrorist groups" and expressed displeasure at foreign media coverage of the events that began with protests over a fuel price hike in the west of the country on January 2.

But the authoritarian government has also struggled to firm up its own narrative of events.

A tow truck transports a bus, which was burned during clashes in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Sunday. AP

On Sunday evening the information ministry retracted a statement that appeared in an officially run Telegram channel earlier in the day saying that more than 164 people had died across the country during the violence.

Sporadic gunfire was heard Sunday in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, according to the Russian TV station Mir-24, but it was unclear whether those were warning shots by law enforcement. Tokayev said Friday he had authorized a shoot-to-kill order for police and the military to restore order.

The demonstrations, which began in the western part of Kazakhstan, began Jan. 2. over a sharp rise in fuel prices and spread throughout the country, apparently reflecting wider discontent with the authoritarian government. They prompted a Russia-led military alliance to send troops to the country.

Russian citizens wait to board aircrafts to leave Kazakhstan for Moscow at an airport in Almaty. AP

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Tokayev's order "something I resolutely reject.”

"The shoot-to-kill order, to the extent it exists, is wrong and should be rescinded,” he said Sunday on ABC's "This Week.”

"And Kazakhstan has the ability to maintain law and order, to defend the institutions of the state, but to do so in a way that respects the rights of peaceful protesters and also addresses the concerns that they’ve raised - economic concerns, some political concerns,” Blinken added.


Related articles