Kazakhstan government resigns as demonstrators set fire to capital
Kazakhstan’s government resigned on Wednesday as demonstrators set fire to the capital in protest of rising fuel prices and the political hold of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Videos throughout the country showed protesters yelling “Old man, go away!,” and gunshots were heard while public buildings were burned in the city of Almaty, Reuters reported.
All Cabinet members resigned in response to the outburst, but protesters still left a path of destruction. Police were seen using water cannons and stun grenades against demonstrators.
The protests were triggered by a spike in fuel prices and the three-decade rule of Nazarbayev, who still has control over his party and is in charge of the Security Council. Current President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was picked by Nazarbayev, Reuters noted.
“Calls to attack premises of civilian and military agencies are absolutely illegal. This is a crime and legal punishment may follow,” Tokayev said in response to the protests, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Almaty’s police chief, Kanat Taymerdenov, said in a statement 120 vehicles have been burned, 500 civilians have been injured and dozens of businesses have been destroyed.
A two-week curfew, including a ban on mass gatherings, has been implemented for the city and surrounding areas.
Tokayev said he has appointed an acting prime minister and will work to reduce fuel prices amid the unrest.
“Our main goal is to prevent further escalation of violence and radicalism,” Taymerdenov said.