Thousands arrested after unrest in Kazakhstan

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More than 5,000 people have been arrested in Kazakhstan following riots that rocked the largest country in Central Asia last week, Kazakh authorities said on Sunday.

A total of 5,135 people have been arrested for questioning in 125 separate inquiries into the unrest, according to the Interior Ministry quoted by local media.

The energy-rich country of about 19 million people has been rocked by a week of riots killing dozens.

Rising fuel prices sparked unrest a week ago in the western provinces, but they quickly reached major cities, including the economic center of Almaty, where riots broke out and police took opened fire with live ammunition.

The Home Office, as quoted by local media on Sunday, said early estimates put the property damage at around 175 million euros ($ 198 million).

More than 100 businesses and banks have been attacked and looted and more than 400 vehicles destroyed, the ministry said.

“Today, the situation is stabilized in all regions of the country,” said Interior Minister Erlan Turgumbayev, adding nonetheless that “the anti-terrorist operation is continuing with the aim of restoring order in the country” .

Relative calm appeared to return to Almaty, with police sometimes firing in the air to prevent people from approaching the city’s central square, an AFP correspondent said on Saturday.

(AFP)

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