The human toll is increasing in Kazakhstan. As of Sunday, several media reported that at least 164 people had lost their lives in the riots that rocked the Central Asian country this week, citing the health ministry.
Among the victims, 103 were killed in the economic capital Almaty. This balance sheet, which could not be verified independently, is on the rise. Authorities had so far reported 26 protesters and 16 members of the security forces killed and more than 2,000 injured.
This heavy human toll also comes as the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, said on Friday that order had been largely “restored” in the country. This Sunday, the authorities announced for their part to have arrested nearly 6,000 people in connection with the riots.
Kazakhstan, a country of about 19 million inhabitants rich in hydrocarbons, was shaken this week by riots unprecedented since its independence in 1989. The protest began in the provinces last Sunday after the increase in gas prices, before to reach major cities, including the economic capital Almaty, where riots broke out, the police firing live ammunition at the demonstrators.
The Pope calls for “dialogue”
The international community does not hide its concern and condemns this violence. This Sunday, Pope Francis also expressed his “pain” for the victims of the riots, calling for “dialogue” to find peace.
“I was saddened to learn that there were casualties during the protests that have taken place in Kazakhstan over the past few days. I pray for them and the members of their families ”, he declared during his traditional weekly prayer of the Angelus on Saint Peter’s Square. “I hope that we will return to social peace as soon as possible through the search for dialogue, social justice and the common good,” he added.
Contacted by the presidency of Kazakhstan, the Kremlin sent its peacekeeping forces on Thursday. Worried, the United States had for its part immediately warned Russian troops against any violation of human rights or any attempt to “take control” of the country’s institutions.