BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 10
Armed militants attacked Almaty from three directions, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said, Trend reports via Kazinform.
Tokayev made the statement speaking at an extraordinary session of the Collective Security Council of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization).
"At the first stage, peaceful protests took place. Then, in particular, political rallies were held in Almaty, after which armed militants attacked the city like a huge flock of hyenas from three directions," he noted.
According to the president, at first the militants pretended to be peaceful demonstrators, misleading the law enforcement officers and even residents of the city.
“Then events began which will probably go down in history as the Almaty tragedy,” added Tokayev.
Kazakhstan's government announced late Jan. 4 that it was restoring some price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, after the rare protests reached Almaty following a sharp rise in the price of the fuel at the start of the year.
Many Kazakhs have converted their cars to run on LPG, which is far cheaper than gasoline as a vehicle fuel in Kazakhstan because of price caps. But the government argued that the low price was unsustainable and lifted the caps on Jan. 1.
After the price of the fuel spiked, big demonstrations erupted on Jan. 2 in certain parts of the country. Public protests are illegal in the country unless their organizers file a notice in advance.
Following the development of the situation, the government declared a state of emergency all over the country. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said the government initiated anti-terrorist operations to deal with the ongoing riots.
Also, the divisions of the united peacekeeping contingent of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) arrived in Kazakhstan to assist in restoring order and help protect strategic objects of the country.