The additional detentions brought the total number of arrests by Kazakh authorities to about 12,000.

Dozens of civilians and law enforcement officers were also killed in Kazakhstan during the protests.
Dozens of civilians and law enforcement officers were also killed in Kazakhstan during the protests. (AP)

Kazakhstan has detained 1,678 more people in the past 24 hours over their alleged participation in the violent unrest that rocked the former Soviet nation last week, the worst since Kazakhstan gained independence three decades ago.

The additional detentions, reported on Wednesday by authorities in Almaty, the country's largest city that was hit the hardest by the turmoil, brought the total number of arrests to about 12,000. 

More than 300 criminal investigations into mass unrest and assaults on law enforcement officers have been opened.

Protests over soaring fuel prices erupted in the oil- and gas-rich Central Asian nation of 19 million on January 2 and quickly spread across the country, with political slogans reflecting wider discontent over the country’s authoritarian government.

READ MORE: More than 160 killed in violent Kazakhstan protests

Dozens killed 

As the unrest mounted, the authorities attempted to mollify the protesters and announced a 180-day cap on fuel prices. 

The ministerial Cabinet resigned, and Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country’s former longtime leader, was ousted from his influential post of head of the National Security Council.

Still, over the next few days, the demonstrations turned violent, with dozens of civilians and law enforcement officers killed.

In Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital and largest city, protesters set government buildings on fire and briefly seized the airport. The unrest was largely quelled by last weekend.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has blamed the unrest on foreign-backed “terrorists” and requested help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, a Russia-led military alliance comprising of six ex-Soviet states. The bloc authorised sending 2,500 troops to Kazakhstan.

Tokayev said on Tuesday that the CSTO will start withdrawing its troops this week, as they have completed their mission and the situation in the country has stabilised.

READ MORE: Kazakhstan: 'Attempted coup' defeated, CSTO troops to leave 'soon’

READ MORE: President Tokayev: Kazakhstan unrest was attempted coup d'etat

Source: TRTWorld and agencies