Kazakhstan government resigns after violent protests over fuel prices
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted the Kazakhstan government’s resignation on Wednesday (January 5) after a fuel price increase in the oil-producing Central Asian country triggered protests in which nearly 100 police were injured.
Clashes resumed on Wednesday after the Cabinet resigned and a Reuters correspondent saw thousands of protesters pressing ahead towards Almaty city centre after security forces failed to disperse them with tear gas and stun grenades.
Late on Tuesday police had used tear gas and stun grenades to drive hundreds of protesters out of the main square in Almaty, the former Soviet republic’s biggest city.
The protests began after the government lifted price controls on liquefied petroleum gas at the start of the year. Many Kazakhs have converted their cars to run on LPG because of its low cost.
The interior ministry said that in addition to Almaty, government buildings were attacked in the southern cities of Shymkent and Taraz overnight, with 95 police officers wounded in clashes. Police have detained more than 200 people.
Kazakhstan is a tightly controlled country which cultivates an image of political stability, helping it attract hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment in its oil and metals industries over three decades of independence.