Nazarbayev's ex-adviser holds 'traitors in law enforcement' responsible for Kazakh protests

Aim of protests is to overthrow President Tokayev, says Yermukhamet Yertysbayev.

Nazarbayev's ex-adviser holds 'traitors in law enforcement' responsible for Kazakh protests

Former adviser to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the founding president of Kazakhstan, on Saturday held "traitors in law enforcement" responsible for the ongoing protests in the country.

“These protests would have been impossible without the support of the traitors in the highest authorities and especially in the law enforcement,” Yermukhamet Yertysbayev told local television Habar-24.

He said the aim of the protests is to overthrow President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Claiming that security units were ordered to withdraw from the region 40 minutes before the attack on Almaty Airport, he said: “Do you think that the most guarded building of the country, the National Security Committee, is easily seized by terrorists? This could only happen if the people responsible for the country's national security turned a blind eye.”

The former head of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee, Karim Massimov, has been detained on suspicion of treason, the committee said early Saturday.

Massimov, who was appointed in 2016, was dismissed from his position on Jan. 6 by Tokayev as nationwide protests continued.

The protests against the increase of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices have grown into massive riots across Kazakhstan over the past week.

So far, 4,266 people were detained, including citizens of neighboring countries, the country’s interior minister said in a statement.

According to the Kazakh Interior Ministry, at least 18 security officers and 26 protesters have lost their lives during the ongoing unrest.

In response, Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the commercial capital Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region from where the protests spread to the rest of the country.

Hüseyin Demir