Troops from a Russia-led military alliance arrived in Kazakhstan on Thursday to restore order after protests in the Central Asian country turned violent, with police reporting that dozens of anti-government demonstrators had been killed and hundreds injured.
The crisis in the oil-rich country marks the biggest challenge yet for the country’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in power less than three years, and also threatens to destabilize an already volatile region. Tokayev requested the Russia-led intervention.
The foreign soldiers were dispatched after the city hall in Almaty, the country’s largest city and former capital, was set ablaze Wednesday, and the airport was overrun by an angry mob. Violence spread through the night. Police opened fire on the demonstrators, some of them armed, but also accused them of killing 18 law enforcement officers and troops, and leaving 750 injured.
Throughout the day Thursday, there were reports of continued clashes in Almaty, with police saying they were “cleansing the city of militants.” Heavy gunfire echoed through the city. People hunkered in their homes posted videos of smoke billowing from buildings around the city. Read more…