Kazakh president authorizes use of lethal force against protesters ‘without warning’

The head of state rules out any negotiations with those he calls “terrorists”

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced on Friday that he has given permission for law enforcement agents to use lethal force to quell the unrest that has engulfed the country since the new year.

“I have given an order to the law enforcement and military to shoot to kill without warning,” Tokayev announced on Friday. 

The president has rejected the idea of resolving the ongoing crisis through negotiations. “It’s nonsense. What kind of talks can one have with criminals and murderers?” he asked.

Kazakhstan is facing “armed and well-trained militants, both local and foreign,” Tokayev said. Describing them as “bandits and terrorists,” he asserted that they should be “eliminated.”

The situation has mostly stabilized in Almaty, Aktobe, and elsewhere across the country, he said, but the security forces are continuing their “anti-terrorist operation,” as not all of the perpetrators have laid down their weapons.

The state of emergency will now be gradually lifted, according to the president. The internet, which had been switched off a few days ago, will be restored in some parts of the country, he promised, adding that its reinstatement would nonetheless not allow anyone to “freely post fabrications, slander, insults, and inflammatory appeals.”

Those who attacked the country acted in accordance with a well-designed plan, Tokayev said, targeting key military, administrative, and social facilities in almost all of the regions.

“Only in Almaty, there were 20,000 bandits.” They were backed by propaganda experts who spread fake news online and manipulated the mood of the people, he said.

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