Tokayev said that as concerns about reported Internet outages intensified, the riots threatened national security in the televised speech.
Kazakhstan President Qasim-Jomart Tokayev promised to “resolutely” respond National protest After he took over as chairman of the country’s Security Council, fuel prices rose sharply.
Tokayev made a speech in a national television address on Wednesday, when the most serious turmoil in more than a decade shocked the vast Central Asian country.
He said that after the lifting of the price cap on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), security forces started a four-day demonstration at the weekend in the oil-rich western Mangistau region of Zhanaozen, causing casualties.
More than 200 people across the country were arrested for protests, and the protests have spread to other towns and cities.
Tokayev stated that despite the general public anger, he will not leave the country, but promised to stay in the capital, Nur-Sultan, where a state of emergency has been declared.
“This is about the security of our country. I believe the people will support me,” he said, before promising to make unspecified “political transformation” proposals in the “near future.”
The Internet in Kazakhstan is now completely closed. Obviously it is serious. https://t.co/arf2pxAJgE
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) January 5, 2022
Almaty, the country’s largest city, also declared a state of emergency, where protesters were there earlier on Wednesday onslaught The local mayor’s office seems to have taken control of the building.
The development in Almaty came after Tokayev accused “economically motivated conspirators” of instigating protests and fired the government of Kazakhstan, apparently to appease those who took to the streets.
Tokayev also ordered the restoration of price controls on liquefied petroleum gas and imposed caps on gasoline, diesel and other “socially important” consumer goods in the former Soviet Republic.
At the same time, according to Netblocks, a global Internet monitoring organization, as the riots spread, the authorities seem to have shut down the Internet, and the level of network connections across the country has almost dropped to zero.
“After a day of mobile Internet outages and partial restrictions, Kazakhstan is now experiencing a nationwide Internet outage,” NetBlocks monitors wrote on Twitter. “This incident may severely limit the reporting of escalating anti-government protests.”
⚠️Confirm: #Kazakhstan After a day of mobile Internet interruption and partial restrictions, it is now in the midst of a nationwide Internet power outage.
The incident may severely limit the reporting of escalating anti-government protests.
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) January 5, 2022
Tokayev’s major test
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 in the country are rare. Its parliament has no opposition and is considered illegal unless the organizer submits a notice in advance.
The riots are the biggest test to date for the 68-year-old Tokayev, who took office in 2019 and is a carefully selected successor to the former leader Nazarbayev, who has been in power for 30 years.
This situation has also caused panic in the wider region. Kazakhstan’s close ally Russia said on Wednesday that it hopes the country can quickly resolve its internal problems. Moscow is extremely sensitive to the unrest in the former Soviet republics, which it considers part of its sphere of influence, and it also warns other countries not to interfere in the situation.