The violent protests that erupted in Kazakhstan at the beginning of January have left 225 people dead, according to the prosecutor general’s office.

Serik Shalabayev, the head of criminal prosecution at the prosecutor’s office, said on Saturday that 225 people, including 19 security force members, have been killed, Reuters reported

Security forces killed the protesters and armed “bandits,” as Shalabayev called them, after protests erupted over high fuel prices and the autocratic government that has been in charge for more than 20 years.

The riots led some protesters to burn government buildings and cars in major cities 

Kazakhstan saw 50,000 protesters join the riots throughout the week, with Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev telling 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, Kazakh military and security forces were able to carry out their immediate task of locating and detaining bandits,” Kazakhstani Deputy Defense Minister Mukhamedzhan Talasov told Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) troops, which began leaving the country this week. 

More than 10,000 people have been arrested during the unrest, with Tokayev telling police to be lenient on those who didn’t commit serious crimes after reports of police beatings and torture.

Tags Kazakh protests Kazakhstan Tokayev
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