The political crisis was set off after protests — initially peaceful — began last Sunday over a fuel price hike in an oil town in western Kazakhstan and quickly swept the whole country.
At least 5,800 people have been detained and more than 2,000 injured during several days of violence last week in Kazakhstan, government officials said Sunday, after protests ignited by a fuel price hike set off a political crisis and prompted the president to seek help from a Russia-led security alliance to restore order.
The protests, which started last weekend in western Kazakhstan and spread thousands of miles east, also left the country’s most populous city, Almaty, in disarray.
On Sunday, government officials said that the chaos had been “gradually stabilizing” and that thousands of people had been swept up in an “anti-terrorist” operation.
On Monday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, along with the leaders of other members of the Collective Treaty Security Organization, an alliance of several former Soviet states, will discuss the situation in Kazakhstan via video conference. To help quell the unrest, the alliance deployed about 2,500 troops to the country, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Dozens of protesters and some security officers had previously been reported killed, and Sunday, the Kazakh Health Ministry said that at least 164 people had died in the violence, including 103 in Almaty. But that figure was called into question later when the message was deleted from an official Kazakh government channel on Telegram, a social messaging app.
Kazykhan did not offer evidence to support his assertions or detail who the government thought had organized the groups or what it thought their ultimate goal was.
On Saturday, the government said that it had arrested Karim Masimov, the former head of its main security agency, on Thursday, a day after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dismissed him from his post at the height of the crisis.