Kazakhstan declares state of emergency in protest-hit city, province

Kazakhstan declares state of emergency in protest-hit city, province

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ALMATY: Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared a two-week state of emergency in the Central Asian nation’s biggest city Almaty and in the western Mangistau province where protests turned violent, his office said early on Wednesday.

The move includes an 11pm to 7am curfew, movement restrictions, and a ban on mass gatherings, according to documents published on the president’s website.

“Calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal,” Tokayev said in a video address a few hours earlier. “The government will not fall, but we want mutual trust and dialogue rather than conflict.”

As he spoke, police in Almaty used tear gas and stun grenades to stop hundreds of protesters from storming the mayor’s office, a Reuters correspondent reported from the scene.

The government of the oil-rich country announced late on Tuesday that after a sharp increase in fuel prices at the beginning of this year, a rare protest in Almaty swept through Almaty, and it would restore some of the price ceilings on liquefied petroleum gas.

Many Kazakhs have converted their cars to use LPG. Due to the price ceiling, LPG is far cheaper than gasoline as a vehicle fuel in Kazakhstan. However, the government considered low prices to be unsustainable and lifted the upper limit on January 1.

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