The Kazakh Prosecutor General's office issued a statement Dec. 19 claiming that the situation in the western oil-rich Kazakh region of Mangistau was returning to normal after a robust police and military intervention quelled three days of sporadic violence and protests. The unrest broke out in several different cities and involved oil workers' demonstrations. The unrest began Dec. 16 in Zhanaozen when police tried to disperse hundreds of striking oil workers from the Uzenmunaigaz unit of KazMunaiGaz Exploration Production from the town's main square. At least 14 people died in the subsequent violence, at least 100 others were injured and approximately 70 were detained or arrested. Unrest also was reported in the town of Shetpe, approximately 145 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Zhanaozen, when approximately 300 people blocked the Mangyshlak-Aktobe passenger train at the Shetpe railway station. These incidents are not physically connected, except that they took place in the same region -- an area largely isolated from Kazakh population centers and a region known for its extreme poverty. One common factor linking these protests is that the demonstrators were oil workers who, after months of peaceful demonstrations, resorted to violence.