The government of Kazakhstan resigns after violent protests over higher fuel prices

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev accepted the government’s resignation on Wednesday, according to his office, after violent protests triggered by a fuel price hike shook the oil-rich Central Asian country.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Tuesday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck.

The protests shook the image of the former Soviet republic as a politically stable and tightly controlled nation – which it has used to attract hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment to its oil and metal industry over three decades of independence.

Tokayev declared a state of emergency in Almaty and the oil-producing western Mangistau province early on Wednesday, saying domestic and foreign provocateurs were behind the violence.

Protests began in Mangistau province on Sunday after the price cap for liquefied petroleum gas, a popular car fuel, was lifted a day earlier, after which the price more than doubled.

Tokayev spoke with acting cabinet members on Wednesday, ordering them and the provincial governors to reintroduce gas price controls and extend them to petrol, diesel and other “socially important” consumer goods.

He also ordered the government to develop personal bankruptcy legislation and consider freezing electricity company prices and subsidizing rent payments for poor families.

He said the situation improved in cities and towns affected by protests after the state of emergency was declared, leading to curfews and restrictions on movement.


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