Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has accepted the government’s resignation after a wave of protests swept the country over a spike in the price of liquefied petroleum gas, leading to clashes with police.
The drastic move was announced on Wednesday morning, following a night of escalating and increasingly violent protests across the nation. While the measure is effective immediately, current cabinet members will continue with their duties until a new administration is formed. First Deputy Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov has been appointed interim PM in the meantime.
On Tuesday night, President Tokayev declared a state of emergency and a curfew in Kazakhstan’s largest city of Almaty, as well as the Mangystau region, following clashes between riot police and demonstrators.
A number of photos and videos circulating online have shown large numbers of protesters vandalizing and burning police cars, while officers were seen using flashbang grenades and other sub-lethal weaponry to disperse crowds.
Protests have gripped the former Soviet republic for three consecutive days, ignited by the government’s decision to lift price controls on liquefied petroleum gas, a move that saw prices roughly double. In a bid to placate critics, Tokayev reintroduced price limits, but the protest has turned increasingly political, with the demands of those on the streets quickly growing to include the resignation of the entire government.
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