Thousands of people gathered in front of the town hall in Almaty. The crowd broke the cordon of police who used tear gas and stun grenades, and the a group of protesters stormed the town hall. According to the AFP agency, the protesters took truncheons and shields from the policemen.
On the live report of one of the Kazakh bloggers you can see that the town hall burst into flames and shots were heard from firearms, writes Reuters. The local media had previously reported that the demonstrators were armed with sticks and metal rails. The building of the prosecutor’s office located near the town hall is also on fire.
Wednesday is second day of mass protests in Kazakhstan. Demonstrators oppose the increases gas prices. Clashes between protesters, the police and the military took place on Tuesday in almost all major cities in Kazakhstan. Over 200 people have been detained in Almaty, informed Radio Swoboda.
In order to stop the wave of protests, President Kasym-Żomart Tokayev introduced on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday a two-week state of emergency in Almaty and in the Mangystau region. There is a curfew, citizens must deposit personal weapons. A state of emergency was also introduced in the country’s capital, Nur-Sultan.
On Tuesday evening, the authorities announced partial restoration of price caps for liquefied gas (up to a price of 50 tenge, i.e. 46 groszy per liter in the Mangystau region). They also began to block the Internet and the cellular network throughout the country. Users report problems using almost all social networks, including Telegram and Facebook.
On Wednesday, the president Kazakhstan accepted the resignation of the governmentwhose resignation was one of the demonstrating postulates. Justifying the government’s resignation, Tokayev blamed it for the destabilization of the country’s economic situation. He also ordered the prosecutor general to conduct an investigation into the collusion on prices of gas and fuel distributors.
However, the actions of the authorities did not calm the protesters. They have expanded their demands and are also demanding a departure from the policy of the head of the country’s Security Council Nursultan Nazarbayevwho, in their opinion, handed over power to President Tokayev only formally. Nazarbayev ruled Kazakhstan since the country gained independence from the USSR in 1991.
In January, the price of liquefied gas rose in Kazakhstan up to 120 tenge (PLN 1.12) per liter, while at the beginning of last year it was 38 tenge (PLN 35) per liter.