Kazakhstan Authorities Say They Will Not Go After Peaceful Protesters

According to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Peaceful protesters aren’t a target for law enforcement officials. Kazakhstan’s military fight against terrorists, not those who participated in peaceful protests, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry, some international media tend to be one-sided while covering the news from Kazakhstan and do not try to reveal another side of the coin of protests that arose in different regions of the country.

“There were peaceful protests in the Mangystau region and some other big cities. The authorities have heard the demands of the protesters and agreed to meet these demands. However, terrorist, extremist and criminal groups decided that this was a chance for them to get the situation escalated,” the agency said.

Kazakhstan has declared a state of emergency. President Tokayev even asked for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that sent about 3,000 peacekeepers to facilitate the country to get the situation stabilized.

“Kazakhstan’s authorities aren’t going to go after the peaceful protesters; this is a very important point. However, the law enforcement forces were ordered to launch a full-scale investigation about reasons of the unrest; the government plans to reveal results of that investigation to the world once they are ready,” the foreign ministry reported.

According to authorities, those who attacked Kazakhstan were well equipped and trained; the government even doesn’t rule out that they may have trained abroad.

“The preliminary data shows that at least some criminals have had combat experience and participated in different conflicts on the side of radical Islamic extremists groups. Currently, the country’s military personnel and the police officers fight against terrorists, not against the peaceful protesters as some foreign media depicts,” Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

On January 2, people took to the streets in the town of Zhanaozen (the Mangystau region) after the sharp increase of liquid gas prices in the West region of the country. Later these local protests turned into nationwide protests with economic and political demands.

On January 4-5, the police reported clashes with protesters in Almaty. The authorities declared a state of emergency.

On Wednesday, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev informed the public that he had asked CSTO for help in dealing with the terrorist threat in the country.

On January 8, Tokayev said that thanks to the CSTO forces in Nur-Sultan the government has been able to regroup law enforcement personnel and sent them to Almaty where they have performed the anti-terrorist operations.

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