After violent unrest, Kazakhstan holds nearly 1,700 more

MOSCOW (AP), -- Kazakh authorities announced Wednesday that they had detained 1678 more people over their alleged involvement in violent unrest in Kazakhstan last week. This was the worst violence since Kazakhstan gained independence in three decades.

After violent unrest, Kazakhstan holds nearly 1,700 more

Authorities in Almaty reported that there were additional arrests. Almaty is the largest city in the country and was the worst affected by the turmoil. Over 300 criminal investigations have been opened into unrest in the country and attacks on law enforcement officers.

Protests against rising fuel prices broke out in Central Asia, a nation with 19 million inhabitants. They quickly spread to other parts of the country with political slogans expressing wider discontent at the authoritarian government.

The authorities tried to calm the protesters as they announced a 180-day limit on fuel prices. The country's former leader and ministerial Cabinet was forced to resign, while Nursultan Nazarbayev was removed from his position as head of the National Security Council.

However, violence escalated over the next few days with many civilians and law enforcement officers being killed.

Almaty, Kazakhstan's capital and former largest city, was the scene of protests that set fire to government buildings and briefly took control of the airport. Last weekend saw the end of unrest.

President Kassym Jomart Tokayev blamed unrest on foreign-backed terrorists and asked for help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military alliance made up of six ex-Soviet countries. The bloc approved sending 2,500 troops into Kazakhstan.

Tokayev stated Tuesday that the CSTO would begin withdrawing its troops from the country this week once they have completed their mission, and the situation has stabilized.

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