According to the local Kazakh media Tengrinews.kz, eight police and National Guard personnel were killed in riots in different parts of the country. It also quoted the Press Service of the Ministry of the Interior as saying that 317 officials and people were injured.
“In Almaty, Shymkent, and Taraz, there were attempts to attack akimats. [local administration offices], Where windows and doors were broken and other material damage was caused,” a statement on the ministry’s website said. “The thugs used stones, sticks, gasoline, pepper and Molotov cocktails. “
President Tokayev said that “terrorists” occupied Almaty’s airport, including five aircraft, and fought the army outside the city.
Tokayev said that some infrastructure in Almaty was damaged. He accused the protesters of undermining the “national system” and claimed that “many of them had received military training abroad.”
According to Reuters, protests were ignited when the government lifted price controls on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at the beginning of the year. Due to low fuel costs, many Kazakhs have converted their cars to use fuel.
According to Netblocks, the Internet freedom regulator, Kazakhstan implemented a nationwide Internet blackout earlier Thursday. The regulator said in a statement that the country shut down the Internet nationwide on Wednesday afternoon and then partially restored it.
A reporter in Almaty told CNN that they are experiencing internet interruption and the buildings near the presidential residence and the mayor’s office seem to have no lights.
Serikzhan Mauletbay, deputy editor-in-chief of Orda.kz, said: “There are more than 10,000 people in the municipal building. We call it Akimat. They have surrounded it.” According to the live Instagram video he watched on the spot, Moletbay said that a stun grenade was used. , And there is “some kind of fire”.
Another reporter described the chaos at the scene and said that they could hear and see what they thought was the launching and shooting of stun grenades, but it was not clear what the fire was.
According to official media reports, the country has entered a state of emergency. It will be implemented until January 19, restricting movement, including traffic, in three major cities and 14 areas.
Kazakhstan, which is rich in oil resources, is the ninth largest country in the world by land area. Since independence, it has attracted foreign investment and maintained a strong economy. However, its authoritarian governance has sometimes attracted international attention and the authorities have severely suppressed protests. To global rights groups.
In the turmoil, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin announced his immediate resignation.
According to a statement on the president’s website on Wednesday, Alihan Smailov has been appointed as acting prime minister, and government members will continue to serve until a new cabinet is formed.
President Tokayev stated that a number of measures have been taken to “stabilize the socio-economic situation”, including the government’s 180-day regulation of fuel prices, the suspension of public utility tariffs during the same period, and the Group’s rental subsidy.
On Tuesday, Tokayev stated on his official Twitter that the government has decided to reduce the price of LPG in the Mangystau area to 50 tenge (US$0.11) per liter, “to ensure the stability of the country”.
Tokayev said in a national television address on Wednesday that he will control Kazakhstan’s Security Council-a move that seemed to put his predecessor and long-term president Nazarbayev aside. Nazarba Yev has been leading the country since Kazakhstan was a Soviet republic until he left in 2019, and since then, he has been an influential but controversial figure behind the scenes and in the council.
The 2018 Human Rights Report of the U.S. State Department pointed out that in Kazakhstan’s 2015 presidential election, Nazarbayev won 98% of the votes, “there are violations and lack of real political competition.”
On Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that the United States “is paying close attention to the situation in Kazakhstan”, adding that “we ask all Kazakhs to respect and defend the constitutional system, human rights and media freedom. , Including by restoring Internet service.”
CNN’s Nathan Hodge contributed to this report.
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