164 Killed In Week-Long Battles In Kazakhstan
A total of 164 people have been killed during the past week of protests in Kazakhstan, according to Health Ministry figures cited by state-run media, Christian Thiele and Hannah Wagner reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Photo Insert: The protests in Kazakhstan
More than 2,200 people were said to have been injured in the violence, which saw Kazakh security forces respond with a heavy hand to the anti-government protesters.
According to the Health Ministry, 719 people were being treated in hospitals on Sunday, 83 of them in critical condition. The authorities did not comment on the nature of the injuries. It is difficult to independently verify information in the tightly controlled Central Asian country.
Demonstrations prompted by soaring fuel prices began a week ago in western Kazakhstan, a country bigger than Western Europe, before turning into a broader revolt against the authoritarian government.
In Almaty, the country's largest city, the protests devolved into riots and clashes that left buildings torched and businesses looted. According to the report by state television, 103 people - including two children - died in Almaty alone. Some 1,100 people there sought medical help, it said.
It was initially unclear how many of the victims were civilians. Previously, the authorities had spoken of more than 40 dead, among them at least 16 police officers and soldiers.
Following a crisis meeting on Sunday, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's office said that operations to contain the protests were continuing and described the situation as being under control.
"Measures are being taken to locate and arrest terrorists," it said. So far, almost 6,000 people have been arrested, including many foreigners, the presidential office said.