Dozens of deaths, thousands of arrests amid Kazakh protests

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A total of 26 people have been killed and more than 3,000 have been arrested in the anti-government protests rocking the Kazakh city of Almaty, state radio Khabar 24 reported Friday.

Another 18 people were injured, the broadcaster said, citing the country’s interior ministry.

The focus of the protests in the oil and gas-rich former Soviet republic has been on Almaty, located in the south-east of the country, in recent days.

Almaty is Kazakhstan‘s economic epicentre and biggest city. Protesters have attacked government buildings, set cars alight and looted businesses.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said “anti-terrorist operations” should continue until the “fighters are completely wiped out.”

In Almaty, where the riots were particularly violent, armed demonstrators are said to have holed up in the building of a television station.

Tokayev said the order has largely been restored. He plans to address the Kazakh people in a speech at noon on Friday.