Violent protests that erupted in Kazakhstan in early January left 225 people dead, according to the Prosecutor General.
Serik Shalabayev, head of criminal prosecutions at the prosecutor’s office, said Saturday that 225 people, including 19 members of the security forces, were killed, Reuters reported.
Security forces killed protesters and “armed bandits”, as Shalabayev called them, after protests erupted against high fuel prices and the autocratic government in power for more than 20 years.
The riots have led some protesters to torch government buildings and cars in major cities
Kazakhstan saw 50,000 protesters join the riots throughout the week, with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tell the authorities to “shoot to kill” during the chaos, according to Reuters.
Tokayev called in Russian troops to help quell the protests.
“Thanks to your arrival, the Kazakh military and security forces were able to carry out their immediate task of locating and apprehending bandits,” Kazakh Deputy Defense Minister Mukhamedzhan Talasov said. told the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) troops, who started leaving the country this week.
More than 10,000 people were arrested during the unrest, with Tokayev telling police to be lenient with those who did not commit serious crimes after reports of police beatings and torture.