Over 3,000 people have been detained in Kazakhstan in connection with riots, 26 armed rioters have been killed, and 18 injured in clashes with the security forces, the state-run broadcaster Khabar 24 reported on Friday, citing a source in the Interior Ministry.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is expected to deliver a televised address to the nation on Friday after declaring that constitutional order has mainly been restored in the country.
"The counterterrorist operation has started. The security forces are working hard. The constitutional order has been mostly restored in all regions of the country. Regional authorities are controlling the situation", the president's press service said in a statement.
The Kazakh president also said that terrorists are using weapons, inflicting damage on people's property, adding that counterterrorist operations are needed until the full extermination of gunmen.
Gunshots were heard again in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the early morning hours of Friday, a Sputnik correspondent shared, adding that the barricades have been dismantled and there are no police or protesters on the streets.
An armoured vehicle with servicemen is on Republic Square, the body of an unknown man – likely of a protester – is lying on the square.
According to the broadcaster Khabar 24, the Almaty Airport will be closed until Friday afternoon.
On Thursday, sounds of shooting and loud explosions were reported in central Almaty. The newspaper Vlast said that witnesses report occasional shots fired in several of the city's districts, while one of the newspaper's correspondents said loud explosions and shooting were heard in the vicinity of one of the oldest streets in Almaty.
Meanwhile, in Aktau, riots have also continued following earlier reports that demonstrators began dismantling tents and preparing to leave the main square after four days of peaceful rallies, according to the Kazakh media.
Mass protests in Kazakhstan began in the early days of 2022. The residents of Zhanaozen and Aktau opposed a two-fold increase in prices for liquefied petroleum gas, then protests spread to other cities, resulting in violent clashes with the police, looting, and vandalism. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency until 19 January and invited CSTO peacekeeping forces to help get the situation under control.