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Police veterans comment on policemen's actions in Zhanaozen 31 января 2012, 19:17

Police veterans have commented on the actions of their colleagues in Zhanaozen.
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Photo by Danial Okassov© Photo by Danial Okassov©
Police veterans have commented on the actions of their colleagues in Zhanaozen after Kazakhstan General Prosecutor’s Office announced the first results of the investigation of Zhanaozen clashes, Tengrinews.kz reports. “The strikers and people who joined them headed for Zhanaozen Interior Department. There was a threat of burning or seizure of the building,” deputy chairman of Kazakhstan Council of Police Veterans Berik Suleimenov said speaking of the clashes of December 16, 2011. “Having received the messages about crimes and calls for help, the management of the Interior Department dispatched an interservice team of 97 people for the rescue civilians and suppress the criminal activities. The group of policemen was attacked with the use firearms and cold weapons, bottles with flammable liquids, stones, metal fittings, etc. Policemen were forced to shoot in the air hoping to scare off the attackers, prevent the attacks and protect the civilians. It had no effect. The bandits started calling each other to seizing policemen’s service weapons as they thought the police were used blank cartridges. After several attacks, police started shooting at the ground or at worst at the feet of the attackers. However, the investigation confirmed that there were no direct shots to people.” According to Suleimenov, policemen were shooting not to scatter the participants of the clashes, but to prevent the crimes. Former policemen of East Kazakhstan oblast retired colonel Yerzhan Namazbayev agrees with his colleague: “The center of celebrating and peaceful town of Zhanaozen turned into a terrible scene in just several minutes: buildings on fire, crying children, weeping mothers. A furious crowd did not even let the police save injured policemen and civilians. The consequences would have been terrible, if the team of 100 policemen did not stand against this outrage. Yes, they used firearms. I think it is right to use weapons in such cases. They suppressed further illegal actions of the bandits. And I’m sure there would have been much more victims and damages, if the firearms hadn't been used. I don’t think anyone gave them the order to shoot. The ones who have been in such situations know that anyone will use the weapons in certain circumstances.” The actions of policemen were adequate to the situation, a veteran of local conflicts in the USSR, colonel with 30-year police experience, Chief of Staff of North Kazakhstan oblast Interior Department Serik Toktarbayev states. “There is a video of police officer being beaten up by the aggressive crowd during the riots. There is usually no time to think or wait for orders in such conditions; they had to act as per instructions. According to the law, policemen have a right to use firearms for protection of civilians from criminal offence in cases when their lives are threatened, for holding off attacks on police officers, facilities protected by law-enforcement authorities, state organizations, as well as for apprehension of people resisting arrest or caught during commitment of the crime. Policemen faced all the above cases in Zhanaozen,” he says. Police experts agree that there would have been more victims in Zhanaozen, if the police officers had stepped aside. “Prosecutors consider the use of firearms was mainly legal, saying that police officers acted under threat to lives and health of both civilians and police officers themselves. Maybe there was some excess of authorities; it is not a coincidence that some of the police officers were brought to responsibility. I hope there will be an objective legislative assessment made on their cases, based on the situation back in December,” deputy chairman of Kazakhstan Police Veterans Council says.

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