A total of 164 people have been killed in protests in Kazakhstan over the past week, the country's health ministry has said.

the demonstrations, triggered by a rise in fuel prices, turned into huge riots as they spread across the country.

Those who died include 103 people in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, where demonstrators stormed government buildings and set some on fire, health officials said.

The president's office said authorities have now regained control of the buildings and the situation in the country has stabilised.

More than 2,200 people have been injured during the unrest- 1,300 of them security officers, officials said.

Almost 6,000 people have been arrested, including "a substantial number of foreign nationals", Kazakhstan's presidential office said on Sunday.

Dozens of people, including at least 18 law enforcement officers, have been killed.

Authorities said earlier on Sunday that 16 police officers or members of the national guard were among those who have died Mr Tokayev said on Friday that he had authorised police and the military to shoot to kill to restore order.

Almaty's airport, which had been taken over by protesters, is expected to resume operating on Monday.

Karim Masimov, the former head of Kazakhstan's counter-intelligence and anti-terror agency, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to overthrow the government- days after Mr Tokayev removed him as head of the national security committee.

When, on Wednesday evening, Tokayev called for support from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation ( CSTO ), a Russia-led military alliance, the request was approved within hours.

If confirmed it would mark a sharp rise from the previous figure of 44 deaths.

They started on 2 January and grew to reflect discontent at the government and former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led Kazakhstan for three decades and is still thought to retain significant influence.

Last week, troops from countries including Russia were sent to Kazakhstan to help restore order.

Kazakhstan shares borders with Russia to the north and China to the east.

It is a huge country the size of Western Europe.

A former Soviet republic which is mainly Muslim with a large Russian minority, it has vast mineral resources, with 3 % of global oil reserves and important coal and gas sectors.

Why is it making the news?

In the capital, Nursultan, there are obvious signs that security has been tightened, says the BBC's Steve Rosenberg, with the entrance to the city's Presidential Palace blocked.

There is a growing suggestion, our correspondent adds, that the recent violence is linked to a power struggle within Kazakhstan's ruling elite.

The security forces said they killed rioters in Almaty while trying to restore order and that protesters had tried to take control of police stations in the city.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said "20,000 bandits" had attacked Almaty and that he had told security forces to "fire without warning".

on saturday, kazakh authorities said the country's former intelligence chief karim massimov had been arrested on suspicion of treason.

They gave no further details.

One thing that is clear is many of the old assumptions about Kazakhstan, the resource-rich Central Asian state, have been overturned.

"we 're dealing with armed and trained bandits, both local and foreign.

Tokayev put Kazakhstan ’ s already beleaguered civil society on alert when he said that free media played a role in fanning the unrest.

“ People went to the streets to voice their grievances and we saw some self-organisation, especially in western Kazakhstan. ” The protest began in the west last weekend, sparked by rising fuel prices, and quickly spread to other cities, including Almaty.

When he stepped down in 2019, the new capital city he had ordered created in 1997 was renamed Nur-Sultan, in his honour.

Whatever the final outcome of last week's turmoil, the images of a statue to Nazarbayev in the city of Taldykorgan being pulled down, and of crowds chanting "Old man, out !"

And the causes behind the protests currently gripping the central Asian nation come into focus.

Legislation adopted in 2010 made any coverage of Nazarbayev and his family deemed insulting, defamatory or overly invasive an offence worthy of imprisonment.

It is difficult to know what exactly is going on in the country since the government has turned off the internet, and telephones don't work.

Eyewitnesses in Almaty who have managed to get the word out have talked of sustained exchanges of gunfire right in the centre of the city.

“ We must destroy them.

This will be done soon. ” It is a mystery so far who these people are supposed to be.

It was the "so-called free media" and outside actors who had abetted and instigated the unrest, he claimed.

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