At least eight security forces have been killed and over 300 injured so far as violent protests resume in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty.
Violent protests in Kazakhstan over rising fuel prices have resumed as the White House and United Nations urged Kazakh authorities to show "restraint" in dealing with civil unrest.
Several armoured personnel carriers and dozens of troops moving on foot on Thursday have entered the main square of Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, where hundreds were protesting against the government for the third day.
Gunshots were heard as troops approached the crowd, according to witnesses.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the United States supports "calls for calm" and said protesters should be able to "express themselves peacefully," urging the authorities "to exercise restraint."
The United Nations also called for all parties to "exercise restraint, refrain from violence and promote dialogue."
The Kazakh Interior Ministry said eight police officers and national guard members were killed in the unrest and more than 300 were injured. No figures on civilian casualties were released.
'Crazy Russian claims'
Kazakhstan has been roiled by protests since the start of the year, which escalated into clashes with police on Wednesday, when the government declared a nationwide state of emergency.
Authorities cut internet and mobile phone access nationwide and earlier declared states of emergency in the epicentres of the rallies, financial capital Almaty and Mangystau province.
The state of emergency was also declared in the capital Nur-Sultan, and was later extended across the entire ex-Soviet country.
"Crazy Russian claims" about a US hand behind the mass demonstrations are "absolutely false and clearly a part of the standard Russian disinformation playbook," Psaki added.
State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned destruction of property but also criticised the internet blackout by the government.
"We ask for all Kazakhstanis to respect and defend constitutional institutions, human rights and media freedom, including through the restoration of internet service," Price said in a statement.
The United Nations also called for all parties to "exercise restraint, refrain from violence and promote dialogue," as spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the organisation was following events "with concern."