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11:01, 08 January 2019

Anti-Armenian protests after Kazakh man killed in restaurant brawl

AKIPRESS.COM - Scores of protesters rallied in a central Kazakh city demanding "justice" after a Kazakh man was killed in a brawl in a local restaurant during New Year celebrations.

The young man was stabbed to death in the clash between two groups during celebrations on January 1. Three other men were hospitalized with stab wounds, RFE/RL reports.

The incident in Karaganda has raised ethnic tensions, after some of the protesters blamed the killing on ethnic Armenians.

In a January 3 statement carried by state media outlets, Karaganda police said three suspects -- identified as Torgom Malkhasian, Sokhak Malkhasian, and Qaiyr Nadyrbekov -- had been arrested.

The main suspect in the case, 21-year-old Narek Gururian, remained at large.

In a video posted on Telegram and YouTube on January 7, a man identifying himself as Narek Gururian, born on March 30, 1997, acknowledged that he took part in the brawl but insisted that he did not kill anyone.

The demonstrators gathered in front of the regional police department in Karaganda on January 6 and demanded thorough investigations into the killing, some saying that Armenians must be deported from the country.

Regional governor Erlan Qoshanov met with the protesters and said that "all those responsible for the death will be prosecuted."

"This case is being monitored by the authorities at the highest level. We will investigate it until all those responsible are punished. I promise you, as the region's governor and the president's representative here, that the main suspect, who remains at large, will be detained in two-three days," Qoshanov said, adding that if the suspect's relatives were trying to hide him, they would be prosecuted too.

The protesters then left the site.

According to a January 6 statement on the governor's website, murder and hooliganism investigations have been launched.

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