Kazakh president vows to act tough in response to mass protests
Updated 23:21, 05-Jan-2022

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Wednesday he had taken over as head of the country's Security Council and promised to act with "maximum toughness" in response to mass protests over a new year energy price hike.

"As president, I am obliged to protect the safety and peace of our citizens, to worry about the integrity of Kazakhstan," he said on Kazakh television.

The internet has completely shut down in Kazakhstan in a development since Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the capital city of Nur-Sultan.

The president had earlier declared an emergency in the city of Almaty and the western Mangistau Province, his office said.

Police in Almaty fired stun grenades against more than 1,000 protesters marching toward the main city administration building on Wednesday afternoon, AFP reported.

A fire was seen blazing at the building and gunshots could be heard nearby. 


The protests began in the oil-producing western province of Mangistau on Sunday following the lifting of price caps on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a popular car fuel, causing consumer prices to surge.

In the coming days, the demonstrations quickly spread to other parts of surrounding Mangistau Province and the country's largest city, Almaty.

On Wednesday, Tokayev signed a decree to accept the resignation of the government, according to the presidential palace's website.

Members of the government will continue to perform their duties until approval of a new structure of the government, per the decree.

Read more:

Kazakh govt resigns, emergencies declared in protest-hit cities, province

Speaking to acting cabinet members on Wednesday, Tokayev ordered the members and provincial governors to reinstate LPG price controls and broaden them to gasoline, diesel and other "socially important" consumer goods.

The government would again cap the LPG price at 50 tenge ($0.11) per liter, less than half the current market price, according to the president.

The country's anti-monopoly authority is tasked with "introducing temporary price regulation for liquefied gas for 180 calendar days," the presidential press service quoted Tokayev as saying.

"Apart from liquefied gas, state regulation of prices for gasoline and diesel fuel should also be in place for the period of 180 days," the presidential administration said.


The situation improved in protest-hit cities and towns after the state of emergency was declared, which included a curfew and movement restrictions, said Tokayev.

More than 200 people were detained during the unrest, according to the country's interior ministry.

Ninety-five police officers have been wounded, it said in a statement.

In response to the unrest, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Kazakhstan could solve its own problems and that it's important that no one interfered from the outside, RIA reported.

Kazakhstan had not requested Russian help to deal with protests, according to Peskov.

Russia is following the Kazakh situation closely and counting on the "soonest possible normalization," the spokesperson said.

(With input from agencies)

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