Kazakhstan's government falls as protests rise in tone
The resignation of the Cabinet fails to appease the anger of the protesters, who oppose the increase in the price of fuel.
The Government of Kazakhstan declared a state of emergency in the capital, its main city and the provinces, to quell the worst public incidents in more than a decade in this tightly controlled Central Asian country, where thousands of people in various regions They went out to demonstrate since the weekend.
The unrest , sparked by rising gas prices, is set against the backdrop of broader political demands in a country that remains under the shadow of the one-man government of Nursultan Nazarbayev, which ruled the nation's destinies for three decades.
Nazarbayev, 81, became president of the former Soviet republic in 1990 and did not leave it until 2019, although he retained his authority as head of the ruling party and of a powerful security council.
The current president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, promised a "firm" response to the unprecedented protests. "As president, I am obliged to protect the security and peace of our citizens, to care for the integrity of Kazakhstan," Tokayev said, vowing that he would act "as firmly as possible," the AFP quoted as saying.
These long-standing ex-soviet tyrannies, Belarus and Kasajastan, the people have been filled with wevos and have inflicted evil damage on the everlasting tyrants, the stocks and shakiras of the Cubans have no time to end.
In an attempt to calm the situation, Tokayev sacked his government and decreed a state of emergency in several regions, including Almaty and the capital, Nursultán (renamed in honor of the former president). The resignation of the Cabinet failed to appease the anger of the protesters, who came out to protest the increase in the price of fuel since the beginning of the year.
A Kazakh blogger broadcast live via Instagram a fire in the mayor's office of the country's main city, Almaty , while what appeared to be shots were heard in the immediate vicinity. Videos posted online also showed a fire in the nearby prosecutor's office.
Earlier, thousands of protesters advanced towards the center of Almaty, some of them on a large truck , in front of which security forces armed with helmets and riot shields fired tear gas and stun grenades.
The city's police chief said Almaty was under attack by "extremists and radicals" who had beaten 500 civilians and looted hundreds of businesses.
The government blocked the internet and mobile phones as a containment strategy. Netblocks , a site that monitors global internet connectivity, said Kazakhstan was "in the middle of a nationwide internet blackout."
Kazakhstan, the leading Central Asian economy with high growth, has been rocked by falling oil prices and the economic crisis in Russia.
According to an AP report, the police shot some protesters in the presidential palace before fleeing. The uniformed men have repeatedly clashed with protesters in recent days.
Although the protests began over the near doubling of prices of a type of liquefied gas that is widely used as a fuel for vehicles, the size and rapid spread of the riots suggest that they reflect broader discontent in the country.
Kazakhstan, the ninth largest country in the world, borders Russia to the north and China to the east and has extensive oil reserves that make it strategically and economically important. Despite these reserves and mineral wealth, discontent over poor living conditions is strong in some parts of the country. Many Kazakhs are also irritated by the dominance of the ruling party, which holds more than 80% of the seats in parliament.
Hours after thousands of protesters gathered in front of the presidential residence in Almaty, the official Russian news agency Tass reported that the building was on fire and that protesters, some with firearms, were trying to enter. Police fled the residence after shooting at the protesters, according to the report, which was released from Kazakhstan.
Protesters also stormed the Almaty office of the Russia-based radio and television company Mir, destroying some equipment, the broadcaster said. He later reported that a crowd broke into the Almaty building of the Kazakh national broadcaster.
The protests began on Sunday in Zhanaozen, a city in the west where resentment towards the government was strong in the wake of a 2011 oil workers' strike in which the police shot dead at least 15 people. They spread across the country in the following days and on Tuesday large demonstrations broke out in the capital Nursultan and Almaty, the country's oldest and largest city.
Kazakhstan: the reasons for the massive protests that leave a dozen dead and why Putin has sent troops to support the government
Protests in Kazakhstan on Sunday against rising fuel prices have spread like wildfire across the country.
The country's security forces reported on Thursday the death of a dozen anti-government protesters in an operation to restore order in Almaty, the country's main city.
According to a police spokeswoman, these events occurred on Wednesday night, when protesters tried to take control of several police stations in the city.
The deaths are in addition to those of eight members of the security forces who perished during the unrest.
The Ministry of Health also reported this Thursday on more than 1,000 injured, hundreds of them hospitalized.
The rate at which violence took many by surprise, both locally and across the region, and suggests that unfolded not just d rising energy costs .
Troops made up of a Russian-led military alliance have been dispatched to quell the violence after Kazakh President Kasim-Yomart Tokaev requested help.
Besides the price of fuel, there are other political reasons for discontent. Kazakhstan is described as an authoritarian country and most elections are won by the ruling party with almost 100% of the vote. There is no effective political opposition.
Tokaev assures that the protests are the work of "terrorist gangs" trained abroad. Russia seeks to help the government in the "counterterrorism operation".
How did you get to this point and why are these protests important?
The protests began after authorities in the oil-rich former Soviet nation lifted price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, which many people use in their cars, causing consumer prices to spike.
Outrage erupted in one town on Sunday, and by Tuesday most of the country's cities and towns were seeing massive rallies and clashes with the police.
The demonstrations quickly turned violent as police used tear gas and stun grenades against a crowd of thousands in the main city and former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty .
Hundreds of people, both protesters and police, were injured.
A state of emergency was declared in many parts of Kazakhstan on Wednesday, but thousands continued to take to the streets. Internet service was reported down in many parts of the country.
President of Kazakhstan, Kasim-Yomart Tokaev, sacked his cabinet, blaming him for allowing the riots, and Thursday restaur or low fuel prices "to ensure stability in the country".
The protesters responded by storming the mayor's office in Almaty and setting it on fire.
Rich in oil and gas, Kazakhstan is the most influential country in Central Asia , responsible for 60% of the region's GDP. It is often described as an authoritarian state.
It is the ninth largest country in the world, but it has a relatively small population of 18.8 million people.
Kazakhstan declared its independence in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union. For many years it was led by Nursultan Nazarbayev, who became the country's prime minister in 1984, when it was still a Soviet republic.
He was later elected president in unopposed elections, and his government has been marked by elements of personality cult, with statues of him erected across the country and the new capital renamed after him.
Nazarbayev finally stepped aside in 2019, amid unusual anti-government protests that he tried to quell with his resignation.
President Tokaev, his handpicked successor, was chosen in early elections that were criticized by international observers.
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