As the crisis deepens, Kazakh protesters stormed into government offices in Almaty | Protest News

Rare nationwide protests triggered by the sharp increase in fuel prices continued until the fourth day, when demonstrators forcibly entered government buildings in Kazakhstan’s largest city.

According to a local news website, on Wednesday, protesters rushed into the office of the mayor of Almaty with sticks and metal rods.

A Kazakh blogger’s live broadcast on Instagram showed that there was a fire in the office and gunshots could be heard nearby.

Against the background of the stun grenade explosion, people saw a group of people gathering outside the building. According to reports, the explosions were detonated by security forces.

At the same time, thousands of people gathered outside the city’s presidential residence. According to reports, a fire broke out in the city’s prosecutor’s office.

Demonstrators participate in protests triggered by rising fuel prices in Almaty, KazakhstanOn January 5, 2022, Almaty, Kazakhstan, caused protests due to rising fuel prices. Demonstrators boarded trucks [Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters]

Almaty police chief Kanat Temodnov attributed the riots to “extremists and militants” and added that protesters attacked 500 civilians and ransacked hundreds of businesses.

Police, National Guard and military units participated in the security response.

Since the beginning of the protests, more than 200 people have been arrested.

Many Kazakh news websites were unavailable on Wednesday afternoon. Netblocks, a global Internet monitoring agency, said the country is experiencing widespread Internet power outages.

State of emergency

In a failed attempt to quell the crisis, President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev (Kassym-Jomart Tokayev), who blamed the protests on foreign “providers,” Be fired Earlier Wednesday, the government of Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency in Almaty and surrounding provinces, imposing curfews and movement restrictions.

Later Nur Sultan also declared a state of emergency.

Kazakhstan map

After the removal of the upper limit on the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the dissent of this vast Central Asian country about the size of Western Europe began to rise over the weekend.

Due to the low cost, many Kazakhs converted their cars to use liquefied petroleum gas, but after the upper limit was raised, the price more than doubled.

Bruce Pannier, a Central Asian reporter for Radio Free Europe and an expert in the region, told Al Jazeera that the recent demonstrations in the former Soviet Republic “surprised everyone.”

“As these protests tend to do, they started out for economic reasons… but soon turned to a political perspective, and people began to call for the free election of local officials and the removal of senior officials,” he said.

“They are trying to control this situation as much as possible [but] This will damage the reputation of the Kazakhstan government. “

Rising fuel prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan sparked damage to windows during protestsOn Wednesday, January 5, 2022, during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a man took a photo of a police booth window damaged by the demonstrators [Vladimir Tretyakov/AP]

Although the government has resigned, all ministers will remain in office until the new cabinet is established. It is not clear whether this will lead to policy changes or have any impact on the growing protests.

Tokayev has now ordered members and governors to restore price controls on liquefied petroleum gas and extend it to gasoline, diesel and other “socially important” consumer products.

He also asked the agency government to formulate a personal bankruptcy law and consider freezing the prices of public utilities and subsidizing the rents of poor families.

According to a report by RIA Novosti, Russia, which shares a 7,640-kilometer (4,750-mile) border with Kazakhstan, said on Wednesday that the Central Asian country can solve its own problems and urged no foreign interference.

Moscow It is extremely sensitive to the unrest in the former Soviet republics. It considers it part of its sphere of influence. In the past, it has accused the West of inciting revolutions in countries such as Georgia and Ukraine.

Protests spread across the country

Kazakhstan is under strict control and has established an image of political stability, which has helped it attract hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment in the oil and metals industry.

Public protests are considered illegal, and the Parliament has no objections.

The current wave of rebound Start In the oil-rich town of Zanautzen in the Mangisto region in the western part of the country, it spreads to Aktau, the regional center of the country’s Caspian Sea coast, and the workers’ camp used by the subcontractors of Kazakhstan’s largest oil producer Tengizchevroil.

Atameken, a Kazakhstan business lobby group, reported attacks on banks, shops and restaurants.

Government buildings in the southern cities of Shymkent and Taraz were also attacked overnight, and 95 police officers were injured in the clashes.

Kazakh law enforcement officials during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan due to rising fuel pricesOn January 5, 2022, a street was blocked by Kazakh law enforcement officers during a protest caused by rising fuel prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan [Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters]

In addition to succeeding the prime minister of Kazakhstan, Tokayev also appointed a new first deputy director of the National Security Council, who succeeded Samat Abish, the nephew of the powerful former President Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev, 81, is the Soviet-era Communist boss. He has been operating in Kazakhstan for nearly 30 years, and then suddenly resigned in 2019 and supported Tokayev’s successor.

Nazarbayev retains broad powers as the chairman of the Security Council; he did not convene committee meetings and did not comment on the violence this week.