Clashes resumed today, Wednesday, between demonstrators and security forces in Kazakhstan, as shots were heard near the office of the mayor of Almaty.
Violent protests erupted on Tuesday, prompting Tokayev to declare a state of emergency in Almaty, the country’s largest city in Central Asia, and in the Mangistu oil region in the west of the country.
Earlier in the day, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tried to calm protesters’ anger in street by sacking the government, and his office said it accepted the government’s resignation and appointed Alikhan Ismailov, who was the first deputy prime minister, in acting as interim prime minister.
The text of the decree reads: “Accept the resignation of the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Temporarily assign the functions of Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Ismailov Alikhan”, who held the position of First Deputy Prime Minister in the resigning government. Tokayev instructed the members of the government to continue to perform their functions until the approval of the new government formation, after declaring a state of emergency in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan and the country’s economic capital.
Messaging apps Telegram, Signal, and WhatsApp stopped working in the country on Tuesday evening after thousands of people got off in square in the oil-rich country to express their dissatisfaction with the high prices and performance of the government.
And the police in Kazakhstan announced Wednesday that more than 200 people were arrested and dozens of its members injured after protests against high gas prices rocked several cities in the Central Asian country.
The protests resulted in a rise in gas prices in the country, but the government’s move to cut prices in response to the protesters’ requests did not help appease their anger.
Interestingly, Askar Mamin has been the head of the government of Kazakhstan since February 25, 2019.
The deputy head of the presidential administration, Murat Nurtlu, was also appointed first vice-chairman of the National Security Committee. “The president also appointed his assistant, Yerlan Karen, the new minister of state, after sacking Karimbek Kocherbayev, who was holding tale office since September 2019.
According to the constitution, the duties of the Minister of State include the coordination of activities relating to social and humanitarian issues and the supervision of the work of the President’s Anti-Corruption Council.
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