Kazakhstan’s President Kasym-Zomart Tokayev has dismissed the government after violent protests erupted in the country in recent days over a surge in LPG prices. Police intervened against demonstrations with tear gas, and the authorities declared a state of emergency in the city of Almaty.
The government’s resignation was one of the protesters’ demands. In a move to justify the government’s resignation, the president blamed it for destabilising the economic situation in the country. He also ordered the Prosecutor General to conduct an investigation into collusion between gas and fuel distributors.
In almost all major cities of Kazakhstan on Tuesday there were clashes between protesters and the police and army. In Almaty, more than 200 people were detained, Radio Svoboda reported.
In the capital, Nur-Sultan, a large crowd gathered in column around the city, chanting “Old man, go away!” In response, the authorities brought army and special forces onto the streets, who used gas and flash-bang grenades against the protesters. Despite this, those gathered did not disperse and tried to occupy the city’s main square.
In Kazakhstan, protests against the rising prices of LPG, which is used to fill up the cars of many residents, began several days ago.
On Tuesday evening, the authorities announced the partial restoration of price caps on liquefied gas (to 50 tenge, or USD 0.11), but this does not seem to have calmed the public.
In January, the price of liquefied gas in Kazakhstan rose to 120 tenge (USD 0.28) per litre, while it was 38 tenge (USD 0.09) per litre as recently as the beginning of last year.
On Tuesday afternoon, Tokayev assured that the country’s government would not collapse, and warned protesters that calls to attack government and military buildings were against the law. He also urged citizens not to succumb to “provocations from inside and outside”.