Last week’s riots in Kazakhstan killed at least 225 people, including 19 members of the riot police. The Kazakh Public Prosecutor’s Office announced this on the basis of a count at the morgues in the country. The death toll has stood at 164 to date.

The head of the criminal affairs department, Serik Shalabayev, said the death toll could rise. He also said that on January 5, 50,000 people took part in the disturbances. That day, government buildings, banks and cars were set on fire across the country. On Sunday, the Interior Ministry announced that more than 5,000 people had been arrested in the riots.

Following reports of the abuse and torture of detainees, President Tokayev has ordered the police to prevent abuses and asked the Public Prosecution Service to be flexible with suspects who have not committed serious crimes.

The disturbances started on January 2 with demonstrations against a sharp rise in fuel prices. In the days that followed, they grew into a violent protest against the authoritarian rule. The protest was brutally crushed and riot police were ordered to fire live ammunition at demonstrators.

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