Russian soldiers guarding ‘strategic facilities’ in Kazakhstan after deadly protests

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Erzhan Kazykhan, a special representative of Mr Tokayev, said: “Regretfully peaceful demonstrations in Almaty and some other regions were hijacked by perpetrators and both local and external terrorist groups speaking foreign languages.

“Stories that have run this week in foreign media leave readers with the false impression that the Kazakhstan government has been targeting peaceful protesters.”

In Almaty, the internet and mobile phones have been blocked and foreign journalists are banned from entering. Human rights groups have said that they are worried that unarmed civilians may have been caught up in the security operation. 

“It is crucial for Kazakh authorities to ensure that all security forces on the ground act with a view to safeguarding human life and are held accountable if they don’t,” said Letta Tayler, an associate director at Human Rights Watch in New York.

People in Almaty are still sheltering in their apartments, venturing out to buy food and see for themselves the looted shops and ransacked government buildings. Media reported that there was still sporadic gunfire.

The rest of Kazakhstan was now largely calm, although media did report that 10 “criminals” have been killed in Taraz, a town in the south of the country.

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