UAE expresses hope for stability in Kazakhstan
The UAE has affirmed that it is closely following recent developments in Kazakhstan, stressing the need to urgently achieve stability and security in the country.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) expressed the UAE’s support of Kazakhstan's efforts to maintain its security and stability, within the framework of its constitutional institutions and rule of law, and in a way that will achieve aspirations for the people of Kazakhstan.
With dozens reported dead in violent protests in Kazakhstan, and Russian troops sent to help quell the unrest, AFP looks at how the once stable but repressive Central Asian country has been thrown into chaos.
Kazakhstan's president on Friday rejected calls for talks with protesters after days of unprecedented unrest, vowing to destroy "armed bandits" and authorising his forces to shoot to kill without warning.
In a hardline address to the nation, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also gave "special thanks" to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a Moscow-led military alliance sent troops to Kazakhstan to help quell the violence.
Security forces had blocked off strategic areas of Almaty — the country's largest city and epicentre of the recent violence — and were firing into the air if anyone approached, an AFP correspondent said.
The former head of Kazakhstan's domestic intelligence agency has been detained on suspicion of high treason, the agency said Saturday, after he was fired amid violent protests.
The National Security Committee, or KNB, said in a statement that its former chief Karim Masimov had been detained on Thursday after it launched an investigation into charges of high treason.
Protests erupt over the weekend in the town of Zhanaozen in the oil-rich western Mangystau region over a New Year increase in prices for liquified petroleum gas (LPG), which is used for cars.
Unrest spreads to the regional hub of Aktau on the ex-Soviet country's Caspian Sea coast.
On Tuesday, thousands of protesters furious at the price rise take to the streets of Almaty, the largest city, with police firing tear gas and stun grenades.
State of emergency
Later that night, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev imposes a state of emergency in the city and in the restive west after saying he would cut the price of LPG there in a bid to assuage the protesters.
Many chant "Old Man Out!", a reference to Tokayev's still-powerful predecessor and mentor Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Images posted on social media later show a statue of the ex-president being torn down.
WhatsApp and other popular messaging apps like Telegram and Signal are down.