Former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev calls on the population to support the government in dealing with the country’s crisis, his spokesperson said on Saturday. The former head of the national security agency has previously been arrested for treason.
On social networks, few images circulate, the Internet continuing to be mainly blocked in Kazakhstan, this for 60 hours (this Saturday morning). The activity amounts to only 5% of the usual traffic, according to the monitoring site NetBlocks.
Nursultan Nazarbayev “calls on all citizens to rally around the President of Kazakhstan to enable him to overcome this crisis and to guarantee the integrity of the country”, Presidency spokesperson Aidos Ukibay wrote on Twitter.
Kazakhstan, the largest country in Central Asia, is shaken by a protest that erupted in the provinces on Sunday before spreading to other cities and especially to Almaty, the economic capital, where the demonstrations turned into chaotic riots and murderous.Mediaslot: Twitter
Arrest for high treason
The ex-president’s appeal comes as one of his close allies, Karim Kajymkanouli Massimov, a former prime minister, was arrested for treason after being removed from his post as head of the National Security Committee (KNB) as consequence of riots triggered by a rise in gas prices.
The KNB said on Saturday that Karim Massimov was taken into custody on Thursday after the launch of an investigation for high treason.
“Shoot to kill”
The head of state, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on Friday authorized the security forces to “shoot to kill” in order to quell any rebellion and, with the support of Russia, ruled out negotiating with the demonstrators.
A contingent of Russian troops and other countries allied with Moscow arrived Thursday in Kazakhstan to support the power in place by protecting strategic buildings and supporting the police.
Faced with this situation, the US State Department on Friday authorized non-essential employees of the US consulate in Almaty to leave Kazakhstan.
“The department has approved the voluntary departure of non-essential US government employees from the Almaty Consulate General and family members of all employees” of that consulate, the State Department said in a statement.