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Kazakhstan raises death toll in recent protests to 225

In this image taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization board a Russian military plane starting to withdraw its troops at an airport outside Almaty, Kazakhstan,  on January 13, 2022. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this image taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian peacekeepers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization board a Russian military plane starting to withdraw its troops at an airport outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, on January 13, 2022. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

MOSCOW — A top law-enforcement official in Kazakhstan says that 225 people died during the violent demonstrations that shook the country this month, a significantly higher number than previously announced.

Serik Shalabayev, head of the criminal prosecution service in the general prosecutor’s office, says 19 police officers or servicemen were among the dead, news reports said. More than 4,300 people were injured, he says.

The previous official death toll was 164.

Demonstrations started on January 2 in the oil and gas-rich Central Asian nation to protest a sharp rise in fuel prices. They quickly spread nationwide, widened into a general protest against the country’s authoritarian government and descended into violence within several days, especially in Almaty, the country’s largest city. Protesters stormed government buildings and set them ablaze.

At the request of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization sent a force of more than 2,000 soldiers, mostly Russians, to act as peacekeepers. The Russian Defense Ministry says today that its troops have returned home, but it was unclear if forces from other alliance countries remain in Kazakhstan.

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