Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kazakhstan: Government's version of Independence Day disturbances

SOURCE Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan (source should be considered when reading)

Today, on 16 December 2011 at 11.30 a.m. during festivities dedicated to Independence Day, criminal acts committed by a group of individuals led to mass disturbances in the town of Zhanaozen in Mangistau Region.

Peaceful citizens who gathered on the central square to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Kazkahstan's independence were attacked by a group of hooligans.

In flagrant violation of public order, the perpetrators also attacked the police, turned the Christmas tree upside down, destroyed the yurts (tents) and the stage arranged on the square for the festivities. They also set a police bus on fire. The group of hooligans began beating up civilians and smashing cars parked near the square.

In response to the demands of the police to stop their illegal actions, the group of hooligans attacked police officers and tried to seize their weapons. At that, the attackers used firearms and cold-steel weapons.

As a result of the disturbances, the mayor's office, a hotel and the "Ozenmunaigaz" company building were burned down. Property of physical and juridical persons was also subjected to destruction. Cars were burned down, and ATM cash machines were looted.

According to preliminary data, as a result of disturbances, 10 people got killed. There are also wounded people, including among police officers.

Criminal cases were initiated following the disturbances.

On orders of the head of state, an investigative team led by the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kalmukhambet Kassymov, has flown to Zhanaozen to take all necessary measures to prevent criminal acts, identify and bring to justice the organizers of the disturbances, and to restore public security and stability in the town.

The Office of the Prosecutor General warns the organizers of the disturbances about their responsibility before the law and urges them to refrain from any further illegal activities.

Law enforcement agencies are now focused on stopping any further attempts to disturb the peace and security of citizens.