Kazakhstan’s President Qasim-Zomart Tokayev has declared a state of emergency in the country’s largest city, Almaty, dismissing the entire cabinet. He made the decision in the face of strong protests over rising fuel prices. On Wednesday, President Qasim-Jomart Tokayev said he had accepted the resignation of the entire cabinet, led by Prime Minister Askar Mamin. He also directed the acting cabinet to control the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). He also directed the caretaker cabinet to control the prices of petrol, diesel and other socially important consumer goods. This was reported by Al Jazeera online.
Thousands of protesters clashed with police in the northern city of Almaty on Tuesday night in protest of rising fuel prices. They have demanded the resignation of the government. At the time, some of them chanted “Old Man Out” at President Qasim-Jomart Tokayev.
The slogan was addressed to Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president’s predecessor and mentor. Nazarbayev is still seen as powerful in the country. Other protesters stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. At one point, a crowd gathered in front of the mayor’s office. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to stop it.
The president declared a state of emergency in Almaty, the largest city in the western province of Mangistau, on Wednesday morning. He said in a statement that the state of emergency would continue for two weeks. There will also be a curfew from 11pm to 8am. There will be restrictions on movement. Mass rallies will be prohibited.
Earlier in the night, in a video message, President Kasim-Jomart Tokayev said the call for attacks on government and military officials was illegal. The government will not fall. But we want mutual trust and dialogue instead of conflict.
In this Central Asian country, the messenger apps Telegram, Signal and WhatsApp are closed. Websites of two neutral media outlets covering the protests have been blocked. It may be mentioned that the government increased the price of LPG on January 1. As a result, protests erupted on January 2 in the western town of Jhanazouen in the Mangistau region. The region survives on relatively cheap LPG. It is seen as a major fuel in the automobile sector. The news agency AFP said the rise in LPG prices would push up food prices there, which have already risen since the start of the coronavirus epidemic. Protests erupted in Mangistau, Kazakhstan, Aktau in Madhya Pradesh, Almaty and the capital, Nur Sultan.
Qasim-Jomart Tokayev tweeted at the end of the day on Tuesday in the wake of rising tensions. He said the authorities have decided to reduce the price of LPG in Mangistaw to ensure the stability of the country. According to him, the price of one liter of LPG has been set at 50 Kazakh tenz (or ১ 0.11). This price is half of the market price. But neutral media outlets say the government’s announcement did not dampen protests in Jhanaozen and Aktau. The footage that has been shared through social communication from Aktah on Tuesday night, it is seen that thousands of protesters have surrounded the city center in the city center. Several protesters have been arrested in Nur Sultan. On Wednesday morning, President Qasim-Zomart Tokayev said the state of emergency had improved the situation in the cities.
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