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Kazakhstan’s president vows ‘strong’ response to protests | Protests Information

Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has promised to behave “robustly” in response to nationwide protests prompted by a pointy rise in gasoline costs, as he took over as head of the nation’s Safety Council.

Tokayev’s remarks, delivered in a televised handle to the nation on Wednesday, got here because the worst unrest for greater than a decade shocked the huge Central Asian nation.

He stated there had been casualties amongst safety forces throughout 4 days of demonstrations which started on the weekend within the city of Zhanaozen, within the oil-rich western Mangystau area, after worth caps on liquefied petroleum gasoline (LPG) have been lifted.

Greater than 200 individuals have been arrested nationwide in reference to the protests, which have since unfold to plenty of different cities and a number of other cities.

Tokayev stated he wouldn’t depart the nation regardless of the widespread present of public anger, committing as a substitute to stay within the capital metropolis of Nur-Sultan, the place a state of emergency has been declared.

“This can be a matter of the safety of our state. I’m assured the individuals will help me,” he stated, earlier than pledging to come back ahead with unspecified proposals for the “political transformation” within the “close to future”.

A state of emergency has additionally been declared within the nation’s largest metropolis Almaty, the place earlier on Wednesday protesters stormed the native mayor’s workplace and appeared to have seized management of the constructing.

The developments in Almaty got here after Tokayev, who blamed “financially-motivated conspirators” of fomenting the protests, sacked Kazakhstan’s authorities in an obvious bid to assuage these taking to the streets.

Tokayev additionally ordered the reinstation of worth controls on LPG, and for caps to be utilized to petrol, diesel and different “socially necessary” client items within the former Soviet republic.

In the meantime, authorities appeared to have shut the web off because the unrest unfold, with connectivity ranges plunged to almost zero throughout the nation, in keeping with world web monitoring group Netblocks.

“Kazakhstan is now within the midst of a nation-scale web blackout after a day of cell web disruptions and partial restrictions,” the NetBlocks monitor tweeted. “The incident is prone to severely restrict protection of escalating anti-government protests.”

Main check for Tokayev

Kazakhstan is tightly managed and cultivates a picture of political stability, serving to it entice a whole lot of billions of {dollars} of overseas funding in its oil and metals industries.

Public protests are uncommon within the nation, whose parliament is devoid of opposition, and deemed unlawful until their organisers file a discover prematurely.

The unrest is the most important check but of Tokayev, 68, who took workplace in 2019 because the hand-picked successor to former chief Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev held energy for 3 a long time and had till now continued to wield important affect because the chief of the Safety Council after unexpectedly stepping down from the presidency three years in the past.

However the former president, 81, has not been seen or heard from in public because the begin of the protests.

It was unclear if his obvious sidelining would fulfill the demonstrators, a few of whom have been heard chanting “Previous man, go away!”, a conventional anti-Nazarbayev slogan. Footage shared on social media additionally appeared to point out demonstrators making an attempt to tug down a statue of the previous president within the city of Taldykorgan, the capital of the Almaty area.

Earlier, Tokayev had eliminated Nazarbayev’s nephew Samat Abish from his publish of first deputy head on the State Safety Committee, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

The scenario in Kazakhstan has additionally provoked alarm within the wider area, with Kazakhstan’s shut ally Russia saying on Wednesday that it anticipated the nation to rapidly resolve its inside issues.

Moscow, which is acutely delicate to unrest in former Soviet republics it regards as a part of its sphere of affect, additionally warned different international locations towards interfering within the scenario.

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