In Kazakhstan, the mystery surrounding civilian casualties and arrests of activists

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Calm has returned in Kazakhstan after the bloody suppression of peaceful demonstrations on January 5 and 6, which turned into riots. And while the death toll stood at 225 according to the latest official figures, two versions clashed. The country’s authorities speak of an “anti-terrorist” operation while human rights defenders denounce the arbitrary arrests and total ambiguity on the part of the government.

Ten days after the protests, which were originally driven by high energy prices, were suppressed, confusion still reigns in Kazakhstan. The death toll stood at 225 according to the latest count from the Kazakh authorities, a staggering increase compared to previous reports.

On the one hand, the government defends the version of intervention “against terrorism”, and on the other hand, the population speaks of fierce repression by the authorities. After the protests escalated, security forces were ordered to fire live ammunition. According to the official version, the central police station was subjected to 27 attacks by suspected terrorists.

Some families are still searching for the bodies of loved ones who disappeared in early January. Since the events, several videos of the inside of the morgue, where relatives of the protesters are trying to find their photos, have circulated online.

>> To (re)read also on France24.com: “Kazakhstan: Does the “anti-terror” operation hide a clan conflict? »

In an effort to shed light on what actually happened on January 5 and 6 in Almaty, the epicenter of events, the civilian population calls on the international community to put pressure on President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to pave the way for a neutral investigation. .

Activists denounce them, pressure and provocation of the police.

Calm returned, but the search for the militants was just beginning. The system appears determined to overcome a rare challenge.

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