Umm Muhammed Umar
Scores have been killed in Kazakhstan in the most violent protests in the country since independence three decades ago. The deceased include both citizens and police officers, with state television reporting that two security force members had been found decapitated. However, according to Al Jazeera, it is difficult to independently verify reports due to an internet blackout imposed on Wednesday.
The catalyst to the violent unrest was ostensibly rising fuel prices, but the demonstrations have since evolved into anti-government protests – extreme resentment over ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev three decades of rule seems to be an underlying current.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has, in the latest move to quell the demonstrations, invited troops from a Russian-headed military alliance of former Soviet states into the country to restore order, prompting an alarmed European Union to issue a stern warning to Russia to respect Kazakhstan’s sovereignty and independence. Moscow, meanwhile, has deployed paratroopers to Kazakhstan. Further, Russia says it will consult with Kazakhstan and other allies on action regarding a purported “counter-terrorist” operation in Kazakhstan. The Russian foreign ministry, in a statement, claimed: “We regard the recent events in a friendly country as an attempt, inspired from the outside, to undermine the security and integrity of the state by force, using trained and organised armed formations.”