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Kazakhstan Government resigns as emergency declared amid violent protests

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev says "calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal".

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev says “calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal”.

Police spent tear gas and bombing to expel hundreds of protesters in the large marketplace in Almaty, the largest city of the Soviet Republic.
The clash lasted for several hours in nearby areas and was declared a state of emergency – including curfews, movement restrictions, and restrictions on crowded gatherings.

The price of gasoline, which was debated on New Year’s Day, will now be restored.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted the government’s resignation on Wednesday, his office said, and appointed Alikhan Smailov – a former deputy prime minister – as acting prime minister.

Tokayev has a law that regulates the price of petrol and other “public goods” and told a government meeting that the situation is improving in Almaty and the oil-producing province of Mangistau.

He also directed the government to enact a law of personal ruin and consider setting tariffs and funding the rent for poor families.

After the price was first raised, the price of liquified petroleum gas (LPG), which many people use to generate their cars in Kazakhstan, has doubled.

The government justified the change by stating that the fixed price of 50 per liter (10p) was uncontrollable.

But protests have broken out in many areas and loud explosions have been heard in Almaty.

Tokayev has declared a two-week state of emergency in Almaty and west of Mangistau province, his office said.

“Calls to government and military offices are illegal,” he said in a video address a few hours earlier.

“Government will not fall, but we want trust and dialogue rather than conflict.”

Following the rise in prices, rallies that attracted thousands of people erupted on Sunday in the town of Zhanaozen, an oil rink that has been the scene of deadly clashes between protesters and police over the past decade.

There were also protests in Mangistau province and western western Kazakhstan.

The protests tarnished the country’s image as a politically stable and tightly controlled nation – an image we have used to attract hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment in its oil and steel industries.

Public protests are illegal in Kazakhstan unless the organizers file a notice in advance.

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