Foreign Affairs

Amid protests, Kazakhstan gov resigns, State of Emergency declared

Kazakhstan

The government in Kazakhstan has officially stepped down after there were violent protests in the country against the sudden sharp surge in fuel prices. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a two-week of state of emergency in Almaty as well as the western Mangistau province. 

A sudden rise in fuel price has generated a widespread nationwide protest in Kazakhstan, forcing the government to officially step down on Tuesday. Further, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared a two-week of state of emergency in Almaty as well as the western province of Mangistau. Later in the evening, as the protests expanded, the emergency was further extended to several parts of the country. Despite, the President accepting the resignation of the government, the move failed to pacify the anger of the protestors, who have taken to the streets in response to the sudden price rise from the commencement of the new year. 

The common Kazakhs are angry about the fuel price hike and first took to the streets in the cities on Sunday after fuel prices doubled in the oil-rich Central Asian nation when the government lifted price caps for LPG, which is commonly used in vehicles. The commencement of protest happened in the city of Zhanaozen, where at least 16 oil workers protesting against poor working conditions were killed by the police in 2011. Protestors turned violent in several cities and towns across the country, in what is being called the biggest wave of protests in Kazakhstan’s history. Protesters demanded the resignation of the government and the lowering of the prices of LPG.

So far, the authorities have detained around 200 people and around eight cops have been killed in the protests, as per the local media reports. Further, a lot of the flights have also been canceled as the demonstrators have taken control of the airport in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city. The President, in a televised speech, said that “the foreign-trained terrorist gangs were seizing buildings, infrastructure, and weapons, and had taken five aircraft, including foreign ones, at Almaty airport.”

On Thursday, the Prime Minister of Armenia said that a Russia-led security alliance of ex-Soviet states will send peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan. The United Nations and the US have urged the Kazakh administration and authorities to show restraint while dealing with the civil unrest that has gripped the country. 

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By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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