Fresh violence erupted in Kazakhstan’s largest city on Thursday as Russia rushed in paratroopers to put down a countrywide uprising in one of Moscow’s closest former Soviet allies.

Police in the main city Almaty said they had killed dozens of protesters. The authorities said at least 18 members of the security forces had died, including two found decapitated. More than 2,000 people had been arrested.

Burned-out vehicles littered Almaty’s streets, several government buildings were in ruins and bullet casings were strewn over the grounds of the presidential residence, which was stormed and looted by protesters on Wednesday.

“I didn’t know our people could be so terrifying,” Samal, a 29-year-old nursery-school teacher, told the news agency AFP near the residence.

Military personnel regained control of the main airport, seized earlier by protesters. Thursday evening saw renewed battles in Almaty’s main square, occupied alternately by troops and hundreds of protesters throughout much of

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