Mayhem in Kazakhstan: Police Officers Beheaded, Stores Looted, Hospitals Surrounded - PHOTO, VIDEO
13:26 GMT 06.01.2022 (Updated: 14:17 GMT 06.01.2022)
Protests in Kazakhstan have been going on for several days, with some of the demonstrations evolving into violent riots that see protesters clashing with law enforcement officers and damaging government and civilian buildings.
Nationwide violent protests in Kazakhstan have already left 353 law enforcement officers injured, with some 13 killed, according to state broadcaster Khabar 24.
Two of the dead officers were beheaded, the report noted.
Situation in Almaty
The Kazakh city of Almaty - the country's largest - remains the flashpoint of the violence. The city administration has been set on fire and was reported to still be burning as of 2 p.m. local time on Thursday.
On Thursday, it was reported that the offices of five broadcasters in the city were looted and ransacked: Mir, Qazaqstan, Khabar, Channel One Eurasia, and KTK. One employee was slightly injured, according to Informburo.kz.
Two hospitals in Almaty were blocked by protesters, Deputy Mayor Yerzhan Babakumarov said.
"Now terrorist groups have blocked access roads to the first and seventh hospitals of the city. Ambulances cannot deliver patients, but the hospitals themselves are carrying on their work as normal", Babakumarov said, according to a Sputnik correspondent.
Additionally, the protesters were reported to have seized a firefighting vehicle in Almaty.
Reports also said that police had started street sweeping in Almaty, with around 2,000 people already detained in the city, according to law enforcement. There are no details about those dead or injured among the protesters, the Interior Ministry said as cited by Vlast. Per the ministry, the "terrorists" are "hiding behind" kids and women in order to escape law enforcement.
Aside from this, law enforcement in Almaty repelled an attempt to storm the police headquarters overnight. According to police spokeswoman Saltanat Azirbek, "dozens of attackers were liquidated".
The city's international airport will remain closed on Thursday, a Sputnik correspondent reported. On Wednesday, the airport was reported to have been seized by the protesters, but later retaken by government security forces.
Situation in Other Cities
In the city of Taraz, protesters were reported to have set three police buildings on fire and burned 50 law enforcement vehicles.
The doors and windows of government buildings have been broken in the city of Kyzylorda. In the Kostanai Region, one police officer was injured during overnight unrest. According to Khabar 24, 245 people were detained in the region last night.
The actions of looters across Kazakhstan have cost retailers some 26 billion tenges ($60 million) in damages, according to Informburo.kz, citing preliminary data from the Union of Trade Networks.
Footage has since emerged showing the aftermath of the unrest in Aktobe, Kostanai, and Kyzylorda.
State broadcasters also reported on Thursday that control over the following sites have been regained after being seized by the protesters: the city administration's offices in Semey and the Jambyl Region, Aktobe Airport, the Nur Otan party office in Taraz, and the police department in the Jambyl Region.
Besides this, ATM machines are out of service across Kazakhstan amid the ongoing riots, the local online publication Tengrinews.kz reports, citing the country's National Bank. They are out of service due to a lack of internet connection in many Kazakh regions, the report noted.
Kazakhstan has been engulfed in violent protests since 2 January, when the demonstrations initially erupted in the southwestern part of the country due to a surge in gas prices. The unrest quickly spread to other cities, with some of the protests escalating into riots.