Deadly Protests were Attempted Coup, Says Kazakhstan President: 8,000 Protesters Arrested
The heavy protests against the regime in Kazakhstan in recent days were an “attempted coup by armed fighters”. That is the opinion of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who addressed a meeting of the Russian-led country organization Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on Monday.
Tokayev also said his troops would never open fire on peaceful protesters and that nearly 8,000 protesters were detained. “Groups of armed fighters waited for their moment and acted,” Tokarev said. “Their primary objective became clear: an attempted coup.”
According to Tokayev, the regime responded to the demands of the peaceful demonstrators, but that did not matter to the “organizers of the aggression against Kazakhstan”. When those groups learned that three military aircraft belonging to the Collective Security Treaty Organization had landed in the capital Nur-Sultan, they, according to Tokayev, abandoned their plans to seize the presidential residence. The Kazakh president also said that the Russian-led military mission would end “soon”.
The meeting of the heads of state of the CSTO countries was attended by, among others, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Nearly 8,000 people were arrested in the protests, the Kazakh Interior Ministry reported Monday. It is still unclear how many people were killed in the protests. According to the health ministry, state television reported more than 160 deaths on Sunday, but that figure was later removed.
The enormous Kazakhstan, which borders both Russia and China, has been particularly restless for a week. The widespread dissatisfaction with the increased fuel prices escalated into heavy protests against the government. In most places, this happened peacefully, but especially in the metropolis of Almaty, the economic capital, there were several disturbances. Recent official figures say more than 2,000 injured.
To quell the protests, the internet was shut down in several places. As a result, it has often been difficult to obtain independent information about the protests in recent days. In Almaty, the internet was restored on Monday after a five-day hiatus.
The Collective Security Treaty Organization heads, a Russia-led country organization, will meet on Monday. The Russians sent troops to Kazakhstan.