Kazakh Protesters Storm & Torch Government Buildings, Shots Fired, After Cabinet Resigns

Kazakh Protesters Storm & Torch Government Buildings, Shots Fired, After Cabinet Resigns

Despite an attempt to impose a strict curfew on Kazakhstan’s largest city overnight and a ‘state of emergency’ across all locales hit by unrest, protesters are reportedly storming government buildings in Almaty, as chaos continues on the streets amid clashes with police, now in the fourth day of angry crowds raging against a dramatic hike in gas prices after government-imposed caps were lifted on liquefied petroleum gas on Saturday, which meant prices at the pump immediately more than doubled and tripled in some places.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has accepted the resignation of the government in the one-party state. “Tokayev said on Wednesday morning that he had accepted the resignation of the cabinet led by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, and ordered the acting cabinet to reinstate price controls on Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG),” Al Jazeera reports. There were reports of gunfire heard in Almaty throughout the night and into the morning, and emerging unconfirmed reports of casualties from protests in various cities and towns.

⚡️⚡️⚡️ Right now, the storming of the Presidential Administration of Kazakhstan begins. #BreakingNews #Breaking #Kazakhstan #Казахстан #protests pic.twitter.com/iuOiCDDvor

— Aleksander Onishchuk (@Brave_spirit81) January 5, 2022

But it’s looking too little too late as the continuing unrest is now targeting the government, despite President Tokayev warning the prior day that “Calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal,” and vowing that “The government will not fall” in a national TV address.

And now… he’s vowing “maximum toughness” in his response to the protests and riots.

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SAYS HE WOULD ACT AS TOUGH AS POSSIBLE – TV

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL STAY IN THE CAPITAL – TV

KAZAKH PRESIDENT SAYS HE TAKES OVER AS SECURITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN – TV pic.twitter.com/t4ciMFGKE9

— Russian Market (@russian_market) January 5, 2022

Perhaps to save and ensure his own political rule, there’s some rapid backtracking taking place on the prior weekend removal of price control caps, as Tokayev

…also ordered the acting cabinet to broaden price controls to petrol, diesel and other “socially important” consumer goods.

The moves followed clashes in Almaty overnight between police and thousands of protesters who had called for the government’s resignation.

“Old man out” – some are reportedly shouting. In more than one major city, footage shows buildings on fire, and police trying to restore order through riot control tactics like flash bangs and rubber bullets.

‘Live fire’ is also being reported, but the situation remains murky, also as there seems to be few if any foreign journalist crews on the ground amid the mayhem.

More footage from Alma-Ata.#BreakingNews #Breaking #Kazakhstan #Казахстан #protests pic.twitter.com/tlgVbPMxGi

— Aleksander Onishchuk (@Brave_spirit81) January 5, 2022

According to NetBlocks on Wednesday, the nationwide internet outage has endured. “Kazakhstan is now in the midst of a nation-scale internet blackout after a day of mobile internet disruptions and partial restrictions,” the net monitoring group writes. “The incident is likely to severely limit coverage of escalating anti-government protests.”

Almaty #Kazakhstan right now: these protestors are on some extra shit, attacking an APC like their lives mean nothing pic.twitter.com/4C9BpmLNtW

— Don (@donhoxa) January 4, 2022

A number of public buildings especially in Almaty appear to be on fire, and now there’s concern the capital of Nur-Sultan could come under threat next. Reuters reports the intensifying situation on Wednesday as follows:

An Instagram live stream by a Kazakh blogger showed a fire blazing in the office of the Almaty mayor, with apparent gunshots audible nearby. Videos posted online also showed the nearby prosecutor’s office burning. Earlier on Wednesday, Reuters journalists saw thousands of protesters pressing towards Almaty city center, some of them on a large truck. Security forces, ranked in helmets and riot shields, fired tear gas and flash-bang grenades.

In Kazakhstan’s Aktau city, on the Caspian Sea, what look like civilians have been filmed halting a military truck. pic.twitter.com/EpQNPT1yDA

— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) January 5, 2022

Authorities are now vowing to stamp out the actions of “extremists” amid accusations that innocent bystanders have been injured by the outraged mobs. Reuters continues:

The city’s police chief said Almaty was under attack by “extremists and radicals”, who had beaten up 500 civilians and ransacked hundreds of businesses. A presidential decree announced a two-week state of emergency and nighttime curfew in the capital Nur-Sultan, citing “a serious and direct security threat to citizens”. States of emergency were also declared in Almaty and in western Mangistau province, where the protests first emerged in recent days.

Given emerging reports that in a number of cities police and military personnel are completely overwhelmed, the violence is likely to get worse before things calm, despite the desperate attempts to announce the return of fuel price controls. 

Footage circulating on social media also reportedly shows security forces completely overwhelmed in Almaty as crowds beat up one national guardsman on a street corner. pic.twitter.com/PnQJMZLXI2

— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) January 5, 2022

developing…

Tyler Durden
Wed, 01/05/2022 – 08:50

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