Updated 0213 GMT (1013 HKT) January 9, 2022
Violent protests, triggered by an increase in fuel prices, broke out in cities across Kazakhstan Tuesday, January 4.
On Wednesday, protesters reportedly stormed the airport in the country’s biggest city, Almaty, forcibly entered government buildings, and set fire to the city’s main administration office, local media reported. There were also reports of deadly clashes with police and military, a nationwide internet blackout, and buildings damaged in three major cities.
The violence continued into Thursday with dozens of protesters killed and hundreds injured, according to an Almaty police official. Security forces reportedly fired on protesters, and explosions were heard close to Republic Square in Almaty, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
The protests were ignited when the government lifted price controls on liquefied petroleum gas at the start of the year, Reuters reported. Many Kazakhs have converted their cars to run on the fuel because of its low cost.
There are also longstanding issues driving the protests, including anger over endemic corruption in government, income inequality and economic hardship, which have all been exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Human Rights Watch.
Prime Minister Askar Mamin has resigned amid the protests. Alikhan Smailov was appointed acting prime minister, and members of the government will continue to serve until the formation of a new cabinet.