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First there was gas: Short summary of situation in Kazakhstan

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

The situation is unfolding very rapidly
18:00, 5 January 2022

Sputnik

Protests in Kazakhstan began a few days ago after the government's decision to rise the price of liquefied gas and intensified on the morning of January 5. The situation is getting worse, the demonstrators are acting decisively.

The day before, on January 4, the authorities made concessions and announced a reduction in gas prices in some cities of Kazakhstan. But this did not stop the protesters. The protests only intensified: people began lighting up police cars, attacking armored personnel carriers, weapons stores; today there has been an assault on government buildings in various cities, massacres at public catering establishments, and fighting with police in the streets of Almaty.

The details about the latest events in Kazakhstan can be viewed below.

What was the reason?

The actions have started on January 2 after the country's authorities doubled the price of liquefied gas from 60 to 120 tenge (to 0,28 USD or 0.24 euros) per liter. For comparison - the cost of liquefied gas is 0.62 euros in Ukraine, 0.32 euros in Russia, 0.72 euros in Poland, 1.14 euros in the Netherlands.

But there is a local difference - the country extracts natural gas (up to 50 billion cubic meters annually). Kazakhs were outraged that gas continues to rise in price for the population.

Related: Alma-Ata riots: Protesters raid media offices, attack gun shops

From rallies to the government resignation and a state of emergency. Timeline

RFE/RL

Protests took place in many cities of Kazakhstan, not only ordinary people came to the square, but also, for example, drivers and car park employees. Everyone demanded a review of gas prices. In some cities, protests escalated into clashes with police.

- On January 3, Energy Minister Magzum Myrzagaliev said that the government could not reduce the price of liquefied gas due to rising costs for its production.

- After the peak of protests on January 4, the government commission announced the gas price reduction to 50 tenge (0,11 USD) per liter in Mangistau region (this is where gas is extracted). A similar decline occures in Aktobe.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the protesters. He urged not to be influenced by "destructive people" and not to take part in protests.

Problems with the Internet and mobile communications began in the country amid protests.

- Almaty city, Almaty and Mangistau regions, Nur-Sultan city entered a state of emergency until January 19. A curfew from 11 pm was put into place, as well as restrictions on entry into the regions and movement within them, a ban on mass events and strikes, the seizure of weapons and ammunition from the population.

- On January 5, Tokayev signed a decree on the resignation of the government. He blamed the rise in prices on the Ministry of Energy and national oil and gas companies, instructed the Prosecutor General's Office and the Antimonopoly Office to investigate a possible price conspiracy.

The President of Kazakhstan instructed to introduce a state regulation of prices for fuel for 180 days. Tokayev ordered a moratorium on tariff increases for the population.

Director of the Kazakh Gas Refinery in Zhanaozen Nakbergen Tulepov and the head of the Center for Electronic Liquefied Gas Trading were detained after being accused of raising prices.

However, the resignation and state regulation of prices did not save the situation and protesters continue to protest.

- Tokayev addressed the people for the second time in connection with protests. Here are the main points of his speech:

  • He said he was taking over as chairman of the Security Council to replace Nursultan Nazarbayev.
  • Nazarbayev himself is resigning.
  • Tokayev does not intend to leave the capital of Kazakhstan.
  • He will "act as harshly as possible" in regards to protests, the protesters are "conspirators" and "bandits". Tokayev drew attention to the victims among the police (killed and wounded).
  • The president will soon make new proposals for the political transformation of Kazakhstan.

Related: Internet shuts down all over Kazakhstan, local media down

Five conditions for the government

Protesters put forward five conditions to the official government:

  1. Change the political regime
  2. Hold popular elections
  3. Return the 1993 Constitution
  4. Release activists
  5. Bring to power a person who was not previously in the system.

Protesters chant "Government resign!" in city squares. and "Shal, ket" ("Go, Old Man!"), participants demand that former President Nursultan Nazarbayev resign from politics.

Protests in Kazakhstan: photo and video

The Mangistau region has become the center of protests, rallies are being held in Aktau, the administrative center of the region. The scale of the protests is clearly evidenced by footage of the crowd blocking roads, security forces lining up in a "living chain", clashes breaking out.

Orda

In Uralsk, protesters broke through police and marched into the city center. In Aktobe, people gathered near the local administration and blocked the central avenue, cars and railways, stopping trains.

With the onset of darkness, people did not leave the squares in Aktau, Antimaku. They pitched tents and yurts. In Nur-Sultan, protesters demanded a teleconference from Aktau.

Related: 500 people, including women, elderly, beaten as result of unrest in Almaty

What is happening in Kazakhstan now

This morning the hot spot was the former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty. New clashes broke out between protesters and police. Eyewitnesses report the use of light and noise grenades and sounds similar to the automatic turn. Military equipment was brought into the city.

More than a thousand people stormed the building of administration (akimat) in Almaty, footage is spreading on social media, showing demonstrators climbing the stairs of the building. A fire broke out. Protesters took control of special equipment, a video of the fire appeared in the prosecutor's office.

Some protesters tried to break into the next building of the city hall where a residence of the president was before the transfer of the capital from Almaty. Smoke billows are coming from the building.

People in Almaty invaded catering businesses on Seifullin Street, demanding food and alcohol. According to employees of the affected companies, many of the rioters came from the Almaty region and were in a state of alcohol and drug intoxication.

Now there are street fights with police in Almaty. Protesters destroy surveillance cameras in the city.

The office of the Nur Otan political party was burning in Almaty in the building of the business center Aisultan, there are no fire trucks on site - no one puts out the fire. There are no police nearby.

Protesters with batons seized the building of the World 24 TV channel and demanded to go live.

Protesters in Aktobe tried to break into the akimat. Police used tear gas.

Azattyq Radio

In Nur-Sultan the police surrounded the capital's akimat, special equipment was spotted in the yard.

Azattyq Radio

In the central square of Aktau thousands of protesters continue to stand, despite the government's promise to cut liquefied gas prices.

Protesters in Shymkent failed to capture the akimat building, windows were broken.

Orda

There are data on victims and detainees. According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, 95 law enforcement officers were injured. 37 company cars were damaged. Over 200 people were detained for the violation of public order.

Radio Azattik reports that unknown people captured the firearms abandoned by the military and opened fire near Yakat in Almaty. Probably using the combat ammunition. Journalists report wounded. The fire was also opened by security officers who are in the building of the former presidential residence.

Crowds of aggressive people obstructed the work of journalists. The situation in the city is tense.

Mass detentions take place in Uralsk. According to the press service of the regional police department, three offices are already overcrowded. Everyone who appears in the area of Abay Square and Nazarbayev Square is detained.

Kazakhtelecom Operator turned off the internet all over the country.

Related: Kazakhstan President orders to limit gas, fuel, food, communal prices

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