Kazakh president blames clashes on 'hooligans'

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Kazakh president blames clashes on 'hooligans'

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An investigation will be carried out into clashes that left at least 11 people dead in Kazakhstan’s western oil city of Zhanaozen on Friday.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has put together a commission to look into the deadly events and prosecute those responsible for the killings. More than 70 people have already been arrested.

Nazarbayev is rejecting claims the police provoked the situation. Instead he is blaming hooligans for causing the violence.

At a meeting of assembled ministers, Nazarbayev said the situation was being dealt with: “The commission will take the proper measures to find and punish those who organised the lawlessness and to restore public security in the town. Right now, the situation is under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.”

Friday’s unrest was caused by a confrontation between striking state oil workers and police.

Reports on social networking sites claim the death toll is more than 11.

One more person has died in protests in the western village of Shetpe on Saturday. Eleven are said to have been injured.

A 20-day state of emergency has been declared in Zhanaozen, with a ban on protests and strikes, and the enforcement of a night-time curfew.