Over 200 arrested in energy protests in Kazakhstan

Kazakh law enforcement officers gather in a square during a protest in Almaty, Kazakhstan January 5, 2022 [Pavel Mikheyev/ Reuters]

More than 200 people were arrested amid clashes at protests against high gas prices in Kazakhstan, the country’s Interior Ministry said on Wednesday morning.

The ministry said 95 police personnel were injured.

The president’s office announced Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, had resigned, meaning the entire government would leave office but ministers would remain in their posts until a new Cabinet was formed.

The deputy premier, Alikhan Smailov, will take over official duties as a transitional measure.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said price cuts for petrol in the Mangystau region had been ordered to “ensure the stability of the country.”

Thousands of people have been protesting in several cities and villages in recent days, with riots breaking out in the city of Almaty on Tuesday.

Protesters attend a rally in Almaty on January 4, 2022, after a rise in energy prices [Abduaziz Madyarov/ AFP]

Authorities said stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at security forces in some cases.

Local media reported that police used tear gas and stun grenades.

Explosions could be heard in video footage, and images showed police cars on fire.

According to the interior ministry, 37 police cars were damaged.

Tokayev called for restraint and imposition of a state of emergency on parts of the country including Almaty and the Mangystau region in the oil-rich country’s west until Jan. 19.

Under the emergency order, a night-time curfew would be in effect.

Small protests initially broke out in the western town of Shangaosen, with demonstrators angry at the spike in the price of bottled gas at petrol stations.

They demanded that the price of gas be cut and called for the government to resign.

The director of a gas processing plant was arrested amid reports of price fixing. (dpa)

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