Kazakhstan activists recall path from protest to bloodshed

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (AP) — The mass protests in Kazakhstan that began over New Year’s weekend because of high fuel prices were peaceful at first, but then something changed. At demonstrations in the largest city of Almaty, protesters say groups of armed men reportedly joined the peaceful rallies and urged them to storm police stations and government buildings. Soon, city hall was ablaze, cars and buses were set on fire and gunshots rang out. Scores of people were killed and thousands arrested. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has blamed the unrest on “terrorists” who received foreign training and support, but the government has not presented any evidence to support its allegation. Protesters say their peaceful rallies were somehow undermined, leading to the crackdown.