President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has urged the Kazakh people to be ready to fight back against any threats to the country.
"We must be ready to fight back if there are any threats to our country. Defending the motherland and the integrity of the state is a duty of every citizen," the president’s official website Akorda.kz cited President Tokayev as saying on October 22.
Kazakhstan's president made the statement while addressing a festive ceremony held to confer higher military and special ranks on some servicemen and law enforcement officers on the occasion of Republic Day.
He further said that the government would consistently strengthen the country's defense potential and improve the operation of the military and security agencies "to protect our sacred independence."
"Comprehensive social support for all those who guard our national interests and stability in the country will always be a priority government policy," President Tokayev noted.
A Kazakh Deputy Prosecutor-General, Zhandos Umiraliyev, also warned the population against falling prey to "provocative" fake social media calls to stage rallies on Republic Day, which was marked on October 25.
"Fake reports and provocative calls to take part in rallies agreed with local governments that will be held in central squares on October 24-25 this year are being posted on social networks. This information is not true. Holding rallies in these places on these days has not been approved," he said on October 23.
"The organization of rallies announced in these false reports, participation in and calls for them, are illegal," the official said and warned that those who organize and take part in the illegal rallies could be arrested for up to 25 days under the law.
Earlier, President Tokayev said the supremacy of law would help the country prevent a repeat of the January riots that resulted in the death of over 220 people.
"The rule of law must prevail in the country. Law and order will help us prevent a repetition of the tragic January events, which in fact were shameful for the reputation of our state," he said.
"We should beware of those who try to raise bandits, murderers, and looters to the shield to defend the country. They should be punished in accordance with the law because they pursue narrowly selfish goals that are far from the fundamental interests of our people. Soon those who committed high treason, showed duplicity and cowardice will appear before the court," President Tokayev added.
The riots on January 2-9, 2022, were triggered by a fuel price increase and quickly spread across the country, escalating into unrest in Kazakhstan's largest city of Almaty, and other locations. The government said that it had been organized by "foreign-based terrorists" and criminals.
In February, an unregistered Democratic Party leader, Zhanbolat Mamay, was arrested after organizing a rally to commemorate the victims of the nationwide unrest. He has since been charged with spreading false information and insulting representatives of the authorities, and his arrest has been extended twice.
Kazakhstan will hold an early presidential election on November 20, with the incumbent President Tokayev tipped to win easily.
According to him, the upcoming presidential election will become the starting point of a new political era.
"I am sure that the upcoming election will lay the foundation for our new achievements and become the starting point of a new political era. Decades will pass and our era will be described as a time of truly momentous decisions and cardinal changes. I believe in it, in fact, I am convinced of it," the Kazakh president added.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has repeatedly warned the people of Kazakhstan against foreign plans to cause unrest in the country by spreading disinformation and launching cyber-attacks before and after elections. In September, he said some forces were intending to organize "such actions from abroad and to cause disturbances in the country."