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Shooting underway in downtown Almaty, deaths reported - eyewitnesses

Fire is still opened

ALMATY, January 6. /TASS/. Shooting is heard near the Republic Square in the center of Almaty where riots are ongoing, with eyewitnesses confirming that there have been a number of deaths, a TASS correspondent reported.

Fire is still opened, but occasionally now. Eyewitnesses who ran away from the square confirmed that there were those injured and dead.

Earlier on Thursday, Kazakhstan’s military ordered the protesters through loudspeakers to leave the square, warning that they would open fire. After that, heavy shooting started, with eyewitnesses reporting a series of explosions.

According to them, armed people in Almaty were looting shops, smashing windows at shops, and instigators of riots started heading to the central square in the evening.

Protests flared up in several cities of Kazakhstan on January 2. Later they erupted in other cities, including in Almaty, and on January 5 snowballed into mass riots and violence, along with looting and attacks on state buildings. As a result, more than 1,000 people were hurt and deaths have been reported.

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has requested assistance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a post-Soviet security bloc. The first units of peacekeepers have started fulfilling their assigned tasks in Kazakhstan.