Cops in Kazakhstan’s biggest city of Almaty have thrown off the stun grenades at more than 1,000 dissenters trudging towards the main city administration tower, as rare dissent that proceeded over a striking rise in fuel rates proceeded within parts of the country.
Amid the turmoil, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Wednesday approved the surrender of the government and inflicted states of emergency in affected regions. Kazakhstan’s president has been compelled to crack down mercilessly on brawls ongoing across the country, contending the turmoil has led to casualties and damages among law enforcement officials.
The protests started in the west of the country at the weekend, after a quick rise in fuel prices, but have dissipated shortly and taken Kazakhstan’s police and international spectators by shock.
In Almaty, the country’s commercial capital and biggest city, there were destructive conflicts between police and demonstrators and the mayoralty was set on fire, with fume and flares noticeable from many floors of the imposing skyscraper.
At times, administrations have close down mobile internet and halted access to messaging apps, and on Wednesday afternoon the internet shut off across much of the country. Officers said army units had been sent into Almaty to redeem the order.
REASON OF THE PROTEST
The impetus for uproars was a sharp surge in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), used by many to give power to their cars, especially in the west of Kazakhstan. It shortly became apparent that the resentment was not slightly concentrated on LPG prices, and a government declaration that the price would be resolved at a lower level has done nothing to quash the protest.
“Nazarbayev and his family have monopolised all sectors, from banking to roads to gas. These protests are about corruption,” said 55-year-old Zauresh Shekenova, who has been rebelling in Zhanaozen since Sunday.
“It all started with the increase in gas prices but the real cause of the protests is poor living conditions of people, high prices, joblessness, corruption,” she added.
Darkhan Sharipov, a representative of the civil society movement Wake Up, Kazakhstan, told a group of about 70 activists had embarked to trudge to the centre of Almaty on Tuesday night, but many of them were imprisoned and clutched at a police station for several hours.
“People are sick of corruption and nepotism, and the authorities don’t listen to people … We want President Tokayev to carry out real political reforms, or to go away and hold fair elections,” he said.
While it is apparent there is sweeping displeasure in the country, the purification of the political playing field for aeons implies there are no high-profile opponent figures around which a protest activity could join together. Instead, the uprisings seems largely rudderless.