Kazakh Banker Says Did Not Initiate Unrest In Kazakhstan, But Called For Its Expansion
PARIS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 17th January, 2022) Fugitive Kazakh banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, residing in France, told Sputnik on Monday that he had nothing to do with the initiation of the protests in Kazakhstan on January 2, but called for expanding the demonstrations on January 3 and January 4, when the Kazakh authorities had already fulfilled the demands of the protesters and reduced the prices for liquefied gas.
Ablyazov, a former banker and government minister, was sentenced in absentia in Kazakhstan for murder and embezzlement. He is the leader of the opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan political party, which is banned in Kazakhstan as an extremist movement.
"We organized protests every three weeks, for your information: on December 16, November 20, October 23. Different matter is that this very protest, on January 2, when people came out demanding to reduce the prices of liquefied gas, we have nothing to do with it," Ablyazov said.
The banker also said that he went live on January 3, urging people in Kazakhstan for support. On January 4, seeing that the protest was gaining strength, Ablyazov published the plan of actions (including the capture of administrative buildings).
Ablyazov believes the provocations that caused the shooting and looting at the protests were allegedly arranged by the Kazakh authorities with the assistance of instigators. According to Kazakhstan's Interior Ministry, the violence was caused by an attack carried out by militants who staged a shooting and attacked the weapons arsenals of law enforcement agencies.
The banker also claims that there were no foreign military at the protests, while Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that foreign militants, including from Afghanistan and the middle East, took part in the unrest.
A wave of protests against a hike in gas prices across Kazakhstan led to nationwide uproar earlier in January, resulting in clashes with the police, casualties and looting. The president declared a nationwide state of emergency, effective until January 19, and invited the peacekeeping forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to help bring the situation under control.