Gas price protests in Kazakhstan leave at least 40 dead and more than 4,400 arrested

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At least 40 people have died and more than 4,400 have been arrested since the protests against the Kazakh authorities began, according to a new balance from the Kazakh Ministry of the Interior.

According to estimates, collected by the press, among the detainees there are eleven instigators of the disturbances in the country, which the Government has attributed to the intervention of “terrorists” under foreign influence.

Among the deceased would be members of the security forces, according to the newspaper Vlast y the agency DPA, as well as an 11-year-old boy after succumbing to the gunshot wound to the head he received on Wednesday, of unconfirmed origin.

The unrest in Kazakhstan emerged from a protest at liquefied gas prices, essential for car trips around the country.

The demonstrations began in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau, before spreading across the country, particularly in the financial hub of Almaty, now under a state of emergency.

The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has demanded this Friday that the Kazakhstan authorities cancel “immediately” any order from the Kazakh security forces to “Shoot to kill” and urges compliance with international standards on the use of force.

“Kazakhstan is in the midst of its most violent crisis since independence and the world is very vigilant to see if the government shows that it respects Human Rights,” said HRW Associate Director for Crisis and Conflict, Letta Tayler.

He added that it is “essential” that the Kazakh authorities ensure that all security forces on the ground “act with a view to safeguarding human life and are held accountable if they do not.”

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“I have ordered the security forces and the Army to shoot to kill without warning,” Kasim Jomart Tokayev said this Friday during a speech to the nation, in which he ruled out negotiating with the protesters, as the portal has collected Kazakh Khabar News 24.

“A negotiation between the sides”

Thus, he has called “stupid” the calls “from abroad” for “a negotiation between the sides to resolve problems politically”: “Is it possible to negotiate with criminals and murderers?” that the authorities confront “armed and trained criminals, both nationals and foreigners.”

The president has emphasized that “the antiterrorist operation continues in the country” and added that “there is a large-scale and well-coordinated work that is being carried out by the Police, the National Guard and the Army to establish the law and order, in line with the Constitution.

The protests began due to the discomfort of the price of gas but, already extended to several cities, they have ended up becoming an unprecedented challenge to the current authorities, which have requested military aid from neighboring countries, including Russia, to contain the mobilizations. . In addition, there have been Internet outages across the country and hundreds of people have been arrested.

HRW recalled that “all international interruptions to Internet access”, condemned in 2016 by the United Nations Human Rights Council, in addition to “violating freedom of expression and association”, can “hinder access to medical care, education and social services ”.

“The Kazakh authorities have long restricted fundamental rights and rejected calls for reforms, such as lifting restrictions on peaceful protests and freedom of expression and bans on opposition groups, and ending of the politically motivated prosecutions of critics of the government, “said the NGO in a statement.

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