Updates: 05.01.2022 09:24
Almaty – Police in Kazakhstan arrested more than 200 people today after violent protests against the sudden rise in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) shook several cities in the Central Asian country. Dozens of police officers were injured, the AFP agency reported. Clashes between protesters and police using flash grenades and tear gas continue in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, according to Interfax. The police headquarters in Almaty said that operations in the city center continued to ensure order, and urged residents to stay at home, motorists should avoid the center.
190 people, including 137 police officers, sought medical treatment in Almaty. Forty people have been hospitalized, seven of whom are in intensive care units, including four police officers, TASS reported, citing local authorities.
Protests in Kazakhstan erupted on January 2 in the city of Zhanozhen, a day after the abolition of the LPG price cap, the prices of which then doubled. Subsequently, the demonstrations spread to other cities. The unrest led to the government’s dismissal by President Kasym-Zhomart Tokajev.
“More than 200 people have been arrested for violating public order,” the Interior Ministry said. The protesters “committed provocation” when they blocked roads and traffic and “disturbed public order,” the office said.
Kazakh television reported today on the arrest of the director of the gas processing plant and another official in the Mangyshlack region, where the city of Zanaozen is located. According to this source, there are allegations that they “unreasonably increased the price of gas”, which “led to mass protests across the country.”
The president has previously declared a two-week state of emergency in Almaty and several regions around the metropolis, during which, for example, there is a night ban on going out, gathering, selling weapons, ammunition and alcohol. He ordered the new caretaker government to regulate fuel prices as well as other “socially important” goods.
In the former Soviet Central Asian republic, where public life is tightly controlled and parliament does without opposition, public protests are very rare and also illegal if not organized in advance by the organizers. The protests have shaken the image of the former Soviet republic as a politically stable and tightly controlled country that has used three decades of independence to attract hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment in its oil industry, Reuters reported.
Source: České noviny – hlavní události by www.ceskenoviny.cz.
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