Official death toll from Kazakhstan unrest stands at 225

·2 min read
Russian troops in Kazakhstan
Russian troops in Kazakhstan ALEXANDR BOGDANOV/AFP via Getty Images

Kazakhstan's prosecutor general's office announced Saturday that the death toll from last week's unrest now stands at 225, including 19 members of state security forces, Reuters reports. Government sources say more than 50,000 people were involved in the riots at their peak.

During a week of unrest, which was kicked off by an increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and grew into a broader expression of dissatisfaction with Kazakhstan's government, protestors burned the country's presidential residence and stormed its largest airport.

The government imposed an internet blackout, which has since been lifted, allowing citizens to share videos from the protests on social media.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered security forces to "shoot to kill without warning," but also made attempts to placate protestors. Tokayev revoked the LPG price hike, removed former President Nursultan Nazarbayev — an authoritarian who ruled Kazakhstan from 1991 until 2019 — from his position on the country's Security Council, and had former two-time prime minister and Nazarbayev ally Karim Massimov charged with high treason.

The protests began to die down when a contingent of mostly Russian troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, of which both Russia and Kazakhstan are members, arrived in the country.

CSTO troops began withdrawing from the Central Asian former Soviet republic Thursday and are expected to be completely out by Jan. 23, The New York Times reported.

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