cloudy.png
Saturday July 2nd, 2022 7:51AM

Russia-led alliance sending peacekeepers to Kazakhstan

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russia-led military alliance said Thursday that it will dispatch peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan after the country's president asked for help in controlling protests that escalated into violence, including the seizure and setting afire of government buildings.

Protesters in Kazakhstan's largest city stormed the presidential residence and the mayor's office Wednesday and set both on fire, according to news reports, as demonstrations sparked by a rise in fuel prices escalated sharply in the Central Asian nation.

Police reportedly fired on some protesters at the residence in Almaty before fleeing. They have clashed repeatedly with demonstrators in recent days, deploying water cannons in the freezing weather, and firing tear gas and concussion grenades.

The Kazakh Interior Ministry said eight police officers and national guard members were killed in the unrest and more than 300 were injured. No figures on civilian casualties were released.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Moscow-based alliance of six former Soviet countries, for assistance. Hours later, the CSTO's council approved sending an unspecified number of peacekeepers, said Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the council's chairman.

Tokayev earlier vowed to take harsh measures to quell the unrest and declared a two-week state of emergency for the whole country, expanding one that had been announced for both the capital of Nur-Sultan and the largest city of Almaty that imposed an overnight curfew and restricted movement into and around the urban areas.

The government resigned in response over the unrest. Kazakh news sites became inaccessible late in the day, and the global watchdog organization Netblocks said the country was experiencing a pervasive internet blackout. The Russian news agency Tass reported that internet access was restored in Almaty by early Thursday.

Although the protests began over a near-doubling of prices for a type of liquefied petroleum gas that is widely used as vehicle fuel, their size and rapid spread suggested they reflect wider discontent in the country that has been under the rule of the same party since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Tokayev claimed the unrest was led by “terrorist bands” that had received help from unspecified other countries. He also said rioters had seized five airliners in an assault on Almaty's airport, but the deputy mayor later said the airport had been cleared of marauders and was working normally.

Kazakhstan, the ninth-largest country in the world, borders Russia to the north and China to the east and has extensive oil reserves that make it strategically and economically important. Despite those reserves and mineral wealth, discontent over poor living conditions is strong in some parts of the country. Many Kazakhs also chafe at the dominance of the ruling party, which holds more than 80% of the seats in parliament.

Hours after thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the presidential residence in Almaty, Tass reported that it was on fire and that protesters, some wielding firearms, were trying to break in. Police fled from the residence after shooting at demonstrators, according to the report, which was filed from Kazakhstan.

Many of the demonstrators who converged on the mayoral office carried clubs and shields, according to earlier reports in Kazakh media. Tass later said the building was engulfed in flames.

Protesters also broke into the Almaty office of the Russia-based Mir television and radio company and destroyed some equipment, the broadcaster said. It later reported that a crowd broke into the Almaty building of the Kazakh national broadcaster.

The protests began Sunday in Zhanaozen, a city in the west where government resentment was strong in the wake of a 2011 strike by oil workers in which police fatally shot at least 15 people. They spread across the country in the following days, and on Tuesday large demonstrations broke out in Nur-Sultan and in Almaty, the former capital.

The protests appear to have no identifiable leader or demands. Many of the demonstrators shouted “old man go,” an apparent reference to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country's first president who continued to wield enormous influence after his 2019 resignation.

In an earlier televised statement to the nation, Tokayev said that “we intend to act with maximum severity regarding law-breakers.”

He also promised to make political reforms and announced that he was assuming the leadership of the national security council. The latter is potentially significant because the council had been headed by Nazarbayev, who was president from 1991 until he resigned in 2019.

Nazarbayev dominated Kazakhstan's politics and his rule was marked by a moderate cult of personality. Critics say he effectively instituted a clan system in government.

After the demonstrations spread to Nur-Sultan and Almaty, the government announced its resignation, but Tokayev said the ministers would stay in their roles until a new Cabinet is formed, making it uncertain whether the resignations will have significant impact.

At the start of the year, prices for the gas called LPG roughly doubled as the government moved away from price controls as part of efforts to move to a market economy.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Russia-led alliance sending peacekeepers to Kazakhstan
A Russia-led military alliance says it will dispatch peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan after the country’s president asked for help in controlling protests that have escalated into violence, including the seizure and setting afire of some government buildings
5:28PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Capitol Police Chief says force sure 'to get tested again'
A year after the Jan. 6 attack, the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says the force is sure "to get tested again” and will be prepared
5:27PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Novak Djokovic denied entry to Australia, has visa canceled
Novak Djokovic has had his visa canceled and been denied entry to Australia after arriving in Melbourne to defend his title at the season-opening tennis major
5:24PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
After pardon from governor, McCloskeys want their guns back
A St. Louis couple who made headlines by waving guns at racial injustice protesters in 2020 is in court trying to get the weapons back back
4:50PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Maxwell to seek new trial after reports of juror's sex abuse
Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers say she intends to request a new trial after revelations by one of the jurors in her case that he was a victim of sexual abuse
4:47PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Oldest US veteran of WWII, Lawrence N. Brooks, dies at 112
The oldest World War II veteran in the United States has died at the age of 112
4:43PM ( 53 minutes ago )
AP National News
Grammys postpone ceremony, citing omicron variant risks
The upcoming Grammy Awards have been postponed due to what organizers called “too many risks” due to the omicron variant
3:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
Protests escalate in Kazakhstan; president's home set ablaze
News reports say protesters in Kazakhstan’s largest city have stormed the presidential residence and mayor’s office and set both on fire
3:03PM ( 2 hours ago )
Philadelphia fire kills at least 13, including 7 children
The deadliest single fire in Philadelphia in at least a century has killed 13 people, including seven children, and sent two people to hospitals
2:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Boeing lands airplane order from US budget carrier Allegiant
Allegiant Air is ordering new planes from Boeing
4:49PM ( 46 minutes ago )
Texas day care gets reprieve after drilling plan is rejected
Parents who send their children to a day care center in Arlington, Texas, will be able to breathe easier after the city refused to let a major energy company drill more gas wells a few hundred feet from the center’s playground
4:38PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Fed officials see earlier rate hikes as US hiring recovers
Federal Reserve policymakers at a meeting last month said the U.S. job market was nearly at levels healthy enough that the central bank's low-interest rate policies were no longer needed
4:36PM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP Business
More weakness in tech stocks pulls Wall Street mostly lower
More weakness in technology companies pulled most major stock indexes lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street
1:40PM ( 3 hours ago )
UK authorities ease COVID testing requirements amid surge
Health authorities across the U.K. have simplified COVID-19 testing requirements in a move designed to cut isolation times for many people
12:44PM ( 4 hours ago )
Report: Kazakh president's home ablaze as protests escalate
News reports say protesters in Kazakhstan’s largest city have stormed the presidential residence and the mayor’s office and set both buildings on fire
11:24AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
California adopts water restrictions as drought drags on
Californians won't be able to water their lawns for 48 hours after rainstorms or let their sprinkles run onto the sidewalk under new mandatory water restrictions
8:12PM ( 21 hours ago )
Manchin still a no, Biden's $2T bill on Dems' back burner
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says he remains opposed to President Joe Biden’s roughly $2 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives
4:48PM ( 1 day ago )
Slumping tech stocks weigh on S&P 500 even as Dow gains
Slumping technology stocks left the S&P 500 slightly lower on Wall Street Tuesday, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue-chip companies marked another record high
4:13PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Utilities
Garland vows accountability for anyone responsible for 1/6
Attorney General Merrick Garland vows to hold accountable anyone who was responsible for last year’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, whether they were physically there or not
5:25PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Novak Djokovic denied entry to Australia, has visa canceled
Novak Djokovic has had his visa canceled and been denied entry to Australia after arriving in Melbourne to defend his title at the season-opening tennis major
5:24PM ( 12 minutes ago )
US advisers endorse Pfizer COVID boosters for younger teens
An influential government advisory panel is recommending COVID-19 boosters for younger teens
5:20PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Oilers MVP McDavid on NHL COVID list; Benn, Stars returning
Edmonton captain and reigning league MVP Connor McDavid has been placed on on NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list
5:13PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Mid-major pop-up game pits San Francisco and Loyola Chicago
San Francisco and Loyola Chicago struggled to find opponents for college basketball games so they decided to meet in the middle
5:07PM ( 29 minutes ago )