Employees of the U.S. Embassy in Alma-Ata allowed to leave Kazakhstan

The U.S. Department of State has allowed to leave part of the staff and all the family members of the American employees of its Consulate General in Almaty. This became known on Saturday, January 8, from a document published on the website of the department.

“The State Department has approved the departure at will of American civil servants – employees of the Consulate General in Almaty who are not involved in critical tasks and family members of all American civil servants – employees of the Consulate General in Almaty,” reads the statement.

U.S. authorities also urged its citizens to refrain from traveling to Kazakhstan because of the unrest and the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier, on Thursday, January 6, the U.S. Consulate General in Alma-Ata was closed to visitors and the staff has been transferred to remote work.

On January 7, Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov reported that the ministry had received no complaints from foreign nationals about the ongoing unrest in the country.

Protests in Kazakhstan began on January 2. The protesters protested against rising prices of liquefied gas. Soon the protests turned into riots.

As of January 8, 4,266 demonstrators have been detained in the country. It is noted that there are foreign nationals among the detained protesters. It is not specified which countries are being referred to.

The situation became particularly tense in the largest city of the country – Alma-Ata. The protesters stormed the administration building and set fire to the prosecutor’s office and the office of the ruling party. In addition, the radical protesters armed themselves and began looting, destroying stores, drugstores, and banks in the city. The criminals vandalized the offices of five TV channels, attempted to attack the pre-trial detention facility in the city of Taldykorgan and made an attempt to enter the territory of a military unit in the Aktobe region.

It also became known about the security officers who died during the protests in the republic. Their number rose to 18, two of them were beheaded.

The commandant’s office in Alma-Ata also stated that the brutal actions of the attackers were evidence of the terrorist and extremist nature of the gangs. A resident of Nur-Sultan, speaking to Izvestiya, described the events in Almaty as a looting and massacre, rather than a peaceful protest.

The presidential administration of the country noted that there were snipers with special rifles among the militants who were operating in Alma-Ata.