Kazakhstan restores fuel price cap after unrest
In response to Protests which began when the government lifted its price cap on LPG, Kazakhstan's government announces that it has set a six-month fuel price cap.
Kazakhstan's government announced on Thursday that it has set a six-month fuel price cap after a New Year's hike sparked protests that turned into widespread unrest.
This week, protests erupted across the 19-million-strong Central Asian nation in response to a price hike on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which is largely used to fuel cars in the country's western regions.
Thousands of people flocked to the streets in Kazakhstan's main city, Almaty, and the western region of Mangystau, claiming that the price hike was unjust given the country's massive energy supplies.
On Wednesday, the protests became widespread, with demonstrators storming government buildings and dozens of people killed in clashes with police officers.
"The government took urgent measures to stabilize the socio-economic situation," Kazakhstan's government said in a statement.
It announced a 180-day freeze on price increases for LPG, gasoline, diesel fuel, and utilities in a number of cities and provinces.
Furthermore, the government also temporarily restricted the export of foods including beef, lamb, potatoes, and carrots "to stabilize prices for socially significant food products."
Confrontations between law enforcement and demonstrators resumed in the city center of Almaty in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, according to Al Mayadeen's Bureau Chief in Moscow.
He added that confrontations have spread to other regions in western Kazakhstan, noting that Moscow has expressed concern regarding the events in Kazakhstan and is closely monitoring developments.
Protesters have broken into the Mayor's office and gunshots were heard in the vicinity.
Fire and smoke were seen through the windows on the first floor of the building.
Some 190 have been reported injured in the clashes.
On Tuesday, Tokayev signed into law a decree declaring a state of emergency in the west of the country and Almaty, the country's largest city, in light of demonstrations over surging liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices.
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades in a bid to break up the thousands-strong protest in Almaty on Tuesday night. The police later opened fire after the protesters refused to disperse, and estimates suggest there are more than 5,000 demonstrators.
In an effort to thwart the violent protests following a hike in oil prices, the Kazakhstani President dismissed the country's cabinet on Wednesday.