While near the city administration’s building the police on duty have no special equipment, in the area of the square a couple of kilometers away all motor and pedestrian traffic is blocked and the square is surrounded by police wearing bulletproof vests and armed with truncheons. Two trucks carrying paratroopers bearing small arms and wearing bulletproof vests and helmets are parked in front of Kazakhstan’s national bank. Also, there are several busses with curtained windows.
No such reinforcements were seen in Almaty the day before. On Wednesday morning, the police department said that traffic in some streets would be temporarily paused for an anti-terrorist operation. The situation in the city is calm by and large.
Protests erupted in several Kazakh cities on January 2, escalating into mass riots with government buildings ransacked in several cities, including later in Almaty. The ensuing violence left scores of people injured, with fatalities also being reported. Subsequently, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) requesting assistance from the Russia-led bloc. As a result, peacekeepers were deployed to Kazakhstan. Law and order, Kazakh authorities affirm, have been restored to all of the country’s regions by now. The Prosecutor-General’s Office has said more than 4,500 people were harmed and the bodies of 225 victims of the unrest brought to the morgues.