Unprecedented unrest caused by rising gasoline prices has seen thousands of Kazakh protestors arming themselves with clubs and bars storm a mayor’s office.
After demonstrators assembled on a square next to the building of the mayor, explosions could be heard in Almaty.
A blogger uploaded an Instagram livestream that showed the fire in his office. Gunshots were heard near the scene.
The street was blocked by riot police to keep demonstrators away from the largest city in Kazakhstan, Almaty
Almaty was rocked by explosions after protestors gathered on the square just near the Mayor’s Building.
The protestors, who were traveling in large trucks through the streets of the city, did not stop security forces from allowing them into the building.
The state of emergency was declared by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as he accepted the resignation of his government over the rising fuel costs.
According to documents posted on the website of President Obama, this move will include a curfew from 11pm to 7am, restrictions on movement, and an end to mass gatherings.
Atameken is Kazakhstan’s business lobby organization. According to its members, there were reports of cases where banks, restaurants, and stores had been attacked.
Kazakhstan enjoys a strong control system that helps to maintain a stable image and attracts foreign capital.
Residents were urged to remain at home by the city authorities, who stated that law enforcement was still ongoing.
The protesters were riding large trucks through the streets of the city, but security forces did not stop them.
Kazakh law enforcement officers were seen at a barricade in protest against the fuel price rise in Almaty
Kazakh police officers sit inside the police van that has a broken window in protests.
Protests started after price controls were lifted on liquefied Petroleum Gas at the beginning of the year.
LPG is cheap and many Kazakhs use it to power their vehicles.
The surge in petrol prices has resulted in the price of petrol dropping to 50 Kazakh Tenge (which is equivalent to 8.5 pence at the half-price market rate).
However, it has not stopped the protests and anger at the government.
Tokayev addressed acting cabinet members and asked them and their provincial governors to restore LPG price controls and extend them to petrol, diesel, and other socially significant’ goods.
The government was also instructed to create a personal bankruptcy law, consider subsidizing rent payments and freezing utility prices.
Protests began when the government removed price controls from liquefied Petroleum Gas at the beginning of the year
Kazakhstan enjoys a strong control structure that fosters a sense of stability and political security.
The city officials urged residents not to leave, stating that they were continuing their law enforcement operations.
The situation in cities and towns affected by protests was improving, according to the Almaty governor. Almaty is one of the provinces that declared a state emergency.
Tokayev appointed Samat Abish as the first deputy head for the National Security Committee. He was a nephew to Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is a powerful ex-president.
Nazarbayev, an 81-year-old Soviet-era Communist Party boss ran Kazakhstan for close to 30 years. He then abruptly resigned in 2019 and backed Tokayev. Nazarbayev, the Chairman of the Security council has broad powers. However, he has not called the meeting or commentated on this week’s violence.
His office announced Wednesday that the Kazakh president Kassym Jomart Tokayev had declared a state of emergency for two weeks in Almaty, the largest city in Central Asia and the western Mangistau region where violent protests broke out.
In an attempt to stop a massive march by thousands of people in Almaty (Kazakhstan’s biggest city), police fired stun grenades and tear gas. The protests began because fuel prices were in danger.
The incident arose during clashes among protestors and law enforcers in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Wednesday January 5, 2022.
View of a police vehicle that has been set on fire during protests against the rising cost of LPG following the Kazakh authorities decision to lower price caps on liquefied petroleum gasoline in Almaty, Kazakhstan (January 5, 2022).
After LPG prices increased more than twice following the lifting caps, protests broke out in Mangistau (oil-producing west province) on Sunday.
Sources familiar with the situation stated that some Mangistaumunaigas employees, a Kazakh/Chinese joint venture producing oil in Kazakhstan, went on strike. But, it was not impacting production.
Tokayev declared an emergency in Almaty, Mangistau. He claimed that both domestic and international provocateurs are behind the violence.
Separately the interior ministry stated that, in addition to Almaty’s buildings, Government Buildings were also attacked in southern cities Shymkent, Taraz, and 95 officers were injured in clashes. More than 200 suspects have been detained by police.
Bakytzhan Sagintayev Almaty mayor stated that the conditions in the city were under control, and that security forces are detaining “provocateurs” and other extremists.
The Kazakh dollar-denominated bonds were under threat as traders react to the turmoil. Refinitiv data revealed that the 2045 bond lost nearly 1 cent during early trade and fell to 141.24c in dollar. This was its lowest level for three months.