Conflicts & War

Protesters storm government HQ amid deadly fuel price protests

Nur-Sultan, Jan 5 (EFE).- More than 1,000 demonstrators on Wednesday stormed the Kazakh government headquarters in Almaty amid rare, violent protests over surging fuel prices that have shaken Kazakhstan.

President Kasim-Yomart Tokayev, who said there had been an unspecified number of “deaths and injuries” during the protests,​ has dismissed the government, which he blamed for the “difficult economic-political and social situation created in the country”, the press service of the President’s Office said.

In a televised national address, Tokayev promised reforms for the “political transformation” of the country.

“I stand by my previous position in favor of reforms,” he said in a speech broadcast by the state television channel Jabar 24.

The demonstrations, which have spread to other cities, entered their second day on Wednesday, hours after the authorities decreed a state of emergency in the Mangystau region and in the country’s main city, Almaty.

According to the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, flames and heavy smoke could be seen from the second-floor windows of the government headquarters.

The demonstrators, armed with sticks, have forced law enforcement officers to retreat to the streets surrounding the building and have stripped several of them of their shields and bulletproof vests.

According to local sources, the headquarters of the Public Prosecutor’s Office as well as 30 vehicles, both police and private, have also been set on fire.

Internet services have been cut in much of the country and mobile phone service has been patchy.

To curb the unrest, Tokayev has ordered state regulation of prices of basic necessities, including fuel, for 180 days.

He also imposed a ceiling on the increase in the prices of communal services for the same period and said he would look into subsidizing housing rents for the most vulnerable sectors of the population. EFE


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