Kazakhstan Declares State of Emergency After Fuel Protests

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency in large parts of Kazakhstan after protests over a fuel price hike turned violent.

Tokayev on Jan. 4 imposed a state of emergency covering Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, and the oil-rich western region of Mangystau.

The emergency measures, effective from Jan. 5 until Jan. 19,  include an overnight curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time and a ban on mass gatherings.

In the video address declaring the state of emergency, Tokayev said that all attacks on government offices by protesters were “absolutely illegal.”

“Don’t submit to provocations from within and without. Do not heed calls to assault government buildings. This is a crime for which you will be punished. The government will not be felled, but we don’t need conflict,” Tokayev said, as quoted by AFP News.

Large protests took place in several areas across the country over the weekend after authorities lifted price caps on liquefied petroleum gas used for vehicles, prompting consumer prices to rise.

The demonstrations turned violent with police firing stun grenades and tear gas into a crowd of thousands of protesters, according to AFP News.

AFP News also reported that some protesters attacked vehicles and the clashes injured some riot police.

Tokayev said on Twitter on Jan. 4 that the government would bring back lower prices for the fuel “to ensure stability in the country.”

Tokayev added that “other socio-economic requirements” will be considered at meeting on Jan. 5.

According to reports, mobile internet was down and messaging apps were unavailable in large parts of the Central Asian country on Jan. 5.

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