Two hundred people detained at protests in Kazakhstan

More than 200 people were detained at illegal protests in Kazakhstan, the press service of the country’s Foreign Ministry said:

“Pre-trial investigations have been launched into 13 cases of violence against government officials, hooliganism, attacks on government buildings.”

The ministry stressed that the police used the measures provided for by law to ensure the safety of citizens, to suppress violations of public order and arrest violators. In the protest actions, 95 law enforcement officers were injured, 37 official cars were damaged. Correspondent RIA News reports that there are at least ten wrecked and burned police cars just outside the Akimat of Almaty. The press release noted that citizens who succumbed to provocations posed a threat to the security of the population:

“At the same time, certain groups of people blocked roads, blocked traffic, disrupting public order, the peace of citizens and the life support system of settlements. There were cases of a crowd using stones, sticks, gas and pepper cylinders, Molotov cocktails.”

In Alma-Ata, Taraz and Shymkent, protesters attacked akimats, knocking out windows and doors. At the moment, Republic Square in Alma-Ata is located in the ring of military armored vehicles, communal services are eliminating the consequences of the riots. Mobile Internet does not work in the city and messengers are blocked. Employees of nearby offices were sent to work remotely.

Riots in Kazakhstan began in the first days of the new year. The reason was the rise in gas prices. Residents of the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau went to protest rallies against the double rise in the price of liquefied petroleum gas. The Ministry of Energy explained it by the fact that from January 1, prices are formed on electronic exchange trading, based on supply and demand.

In response to the protests, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered the creation of a special commission to study the situation, and on January 4 it announced that it was ready to reduce gas prices, that is, to fulfill the main demand of the protesters.

But the protests, meanwhile, spread to other cities. On the evening of January 4 in Alma-Ata, the protesters staged clashes with security officials, in response, they used gas and stun grenades. The President of Kazakhstan called on the protesters to show prudence and not succumb to provocations. According to Tokayev, the government will not fall, but the country “does not need a conflict, but mutual trust and dialogue.”

Later, a state of emergency was introduced in Alma-Ata and the Mangistau region, which will remain in effect until January 19. Among the measures announced within its framework are a curfew from 23:00 to 7:00, restrictions on freedom of movement, a ban on mass events, a ban on the sale of weapons and ammunition, the establishment of a special regime for the circulation of drugs and alcohol.

This morning, Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev dismissed the government, which he considers to be the main culprit in creating the protest situation. He noted that after the introduction of the state of emergency, the situation in Alma-Ata and the Mangistau region is gradually improving.

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