NUR-SULTAN, January 5. /TASS/. The law-enforcement personnel have launched a special counter-terror operation in Almaty where looting continues, the Almaty commandant’s office reported on Wednesday.
"A special counter-terror operation has been launched in the city to establish order," the statement says.
The commandant’s office also called on Almaty residents "to remain calm and render assistance to the law-enforcement agencies in establishing the Constitutional order and public security."
As the statement says, "radically-minded supporters of riots have caused huge damage to the city, put up resistance to the legitimate actions of law-enforcement agencies for establishing order and providing security."
The commandant’s office also reported that "the extremists are on a looting spree, causing damage to business." Moreover, "they are endangering the lives and health of civilians, obstructing the work of medical workers and causing damage to polyclinics and hospitals."
"Bandits who are on the rampage in Almaty are highly organized, which is evidence that they were seriously trained abroad" and "their attack on Kazakhstan is an act of aggression and an attempt to disrupt the state’s integrity," the statement says.
Protests have been raging in Kazakhstan for the fourth day in a row. On January 2, crowds took to the streets in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau in the Mangistau region in the country’s southwest, protesting against fuel price hikes. Two days later, riots erupted in Almaty (in the country’s southeast) where police used stun grenades to disperse crowds and also in other cities, in particular, in Atyrau and Aktobe (in the west), Uralsk (in the northwest), Taraz, Shymkent and Kyzylorda (in the south), Karaganda (in the northeast) and even in the capital of Nur-Sultan.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev earlier declared a state of emergency in the Mangistau and Almaty regions and also in Almaty and Nur-Sultan for two weeks. After that, a state of emergency was declared on the entire territory of Kazakhstan. On January 5, the head of the Kazakh state dismissed the government. Its members continue discharging their duties until a new Cabinet is approved.