emotional scenes from Kazakhstan’s enormous protests and crackdown : The…

A person holding Kazakhstan’s flag gathers with other protesters near a police line in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Wednesday. Demonstrators denouncing the surge in prices for liquefied petroleum gas have clashed with police in Kazakhstan’s largest city and held protests in about a dozen other cities in the country.

Vladimir Tretyakov/AP


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Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

This week, Kazakhstan has seen some of its largest public protests since gaining independence from the Soviet Union over 30 years ago — and a deadly crackdown by its authoritarian government in response. The president said Friday he has empowered security forces to shoot to kill.

The protests began in the beginning of the year in a small oil town after a sudden major increase in the price of a kind of fuel widely used in vehicles in Kazakhstan. Since then, tens of thousands of people have joined in displays, signaling broader discontent with the Central Asian country’s economy and authoritarian rule. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has called the demonstrators “terrorists.”

Riot police march to disperse demonstrators gathering in Almaty, Wednesday.

Vladimir Tretyakov/AP


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Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

Protesters have set cars and government buildings on fire. Casualties have mounted, including dozens of protesters and law enforcement. A regional security alliance led by Russia sent troops to the country.

Here are some of the images from the emotional scenes that unfolded this week.

The mayor’s office in Almaty, Kazakhstan, one of several government buildings torched by protesters.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images


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Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

Protesters attend a rally in Almaty on Tuesday, after energy price hikes.

Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP via Getty Images


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Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters attend a rally in Almaty on Tuesday, after energy price hikes.

Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP via Getty Images

A man attacks a police minivan during protests on Tuesday that followed sudden price hikes of liquefied petroleum gas.

Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters


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Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

A police car on fire during a protest in Almaty on Wednesday.

Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters


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Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

A police car on fire during a protest in Almaty on Wednesday.

Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

Kazakh law enforcement officers detain a man during a protest in Almaty on Wednesday.

Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters


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Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

Smoke rises from the city hall building during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Wednesday. Kazakh news site Zakon said many of the demonstrators who converged on the building carried clubs and shields.

Yan Blagov/AP


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Yan Blagov/AP

Troops at the main square where hundreds of people were protesting on Thursday.

Mariya Gordeyeva/Reuters


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Mariya Gordeyeva/Reuters

A man takes a photo of windows of a police kiosk damaged by demonstrators during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.

Vladimir Tretyakov/AP


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Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

A riot police officer stands ready to stop demonstrators during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.

Vladimir Tretyakov/AP


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Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

Left: Demonstrators ride a truck during a protest; Right: A demonstrator tries to dismantle a security camera on a pole during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday.

Vladimir Tretyakov/AP


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Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

A police car on fire as riot police prepare to stop protesters in the center of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday. Local news reports said police distributed a demonstration of about 1,000 people and detained protesters Tuesday night in Almaty.

Vladimir Tretyakov/AP


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Vladimir Tretyakov/AP

Protesters take part in a rally in Almaty on Wednesday.

Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP via Getty Images


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Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP via Getty Images

A man walks his dog near a burned-out car that was set on fire during unrest. Following a meeting between a government commission and protesters, the price for liquefied petroleum gas went down, but some protests continued.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images


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Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

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