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Kazakhstan’s president gives shoot-to-kill order as violent protests escalate

Kazakhstan protests
Posted at 7:24 AM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 07:24:42-05

MOSCOW — Kazakhstan’s president has authorized security forces to shoot to kill those participating in unrest, whom he called “terrorists.”

In a televised address to the nation, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev referred to those involved in the turmoil as “terrorists” and “bandits.”

His move Friday opens the door for a dramatic escalation in a crackdown on anti-government protests that have turned violent.

On Thursday, dozens of protesters were killed in demonstrations, and at least 12 police officers were killed. According to The Associated Press, one of the police officers killed was beheaded.

Also on Thursday, Tokayev called on reinforcements from Russian security forces.

The demonstrations began over a near-doubling of prices for a type of vehicle fuel but quickly spread across the country, reflecting wider discontent with authoritarian rule.

It is unclear how peaceful protests descended into violence.

It's the worst street protests the Central Asian nation has experienced since gaining independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago.