Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military alliance, has said, that it will dispatch peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan after the country’s President asked for help in controlling protests that escalated into violence. The protests in the Central Asian nation were first sparked by rising fuel prices, but have broadened to include other political grievances.

Protesters in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty stormed the Presidential Residence and the mayor’s office yesterday and set both on fire. The Kazakh Interior Ministry said eight police officers and national guard members were killed in the unrest and more than 300 were injured. Prime Minister Askar Mamin resigned amid the protest.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev claimed the unrest was the work of foreign-trained terrorist gangs. He has imposed a nationwide state of emergency that includes an overnight curfew and a ban on mass gatherings and has vowed a tough response to the protests. In a televised speech, President Tokayev said he had sought help from the CSTO - a Moscow-based alliance of six former Soviet countries, to help stabilise the country. Hours later, the CSTO’s council approved sending an unspecified number of peacekeepers.

The US State Department said, it is closely following the situation in Kazakhstan and urged for restraint by authorities and protesters alike.

President Tokayev is only the second person to lead Kazakhstan since it declared independence in 1991. 

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