Kazakhstan government resigns after violent protests

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
Riot police prepare to block protesters in the center of Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 5, 2022.
AP Photo/Vladimir TretyakovRiot police prepare to block protesters in the center of Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 5, 2022.

Protests began on Sunday after the Liquified Petroleum Gas price more than doubled

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted the government’s resignation on Wednesday after a fuel price increase sparked violent protests.

Police used tear gas and stun grenades on Tuesday to disperse hundreds of protestors in the oil-rich Central Asian country’s largest city Almaty.

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Clashes went on for hours in nearby cities as well, and the protests ended with nearly 100 police officers wounded and over 200 people detained.

Protests began in the western province of Mangistau on Sunday after the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) price more than doubled.

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The outcry over the gas price spike shook the former Soviet republic’s image as a politically stable nation, which it uses to attract foreign investment in its oil and metals industries.

Tokayev ordered acting cabinet members and provincial governors to reinstate LPG price controls and broaden them to gasoline, diesel, and other “socially important” consumer goods.

He further called on the government to develop a personal bankruptcy law, freeze utilities’ prices, and subsidize rent payments for poor families.

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The leader also declared a two-week state of emergency, which includes an overnight curfew, movement restrictions, and a ban on mass gatherings. 

"Calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal," Tokayev said prior, attributing the violence to domestic and foreign “provocateurs and extremists.”

"The government will not fall, but we want mutual trust and dialogue rather than conflict."

He later noted that the situation was improving in protest-hit areas.