Cabinet Resigns During Protests Against Rising Fuel Prices in Kazakhstan

Protesters set fire to government buildings in Kazakhstan during mass protests that started Sunday, leading the country’s government to resign, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

Protesters stormed the city administration building and presidential residence Wednesday in Almaty and set both on fire, according to CBS News. Multiple news outlets have also reported that the internet in Kazakhstan underwent a blackout.

The protests erupted in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan, in response to a rapid rise in the price of liquefied natural gas, which was caused by the government lifting a price cap Jan. 1, according to Reuters. (Related: Mass Protests Against Vaccine Mandates Sweep Across The Globe)

Kazakh law enforcement officers are seen on a barricade during a protest triggered by fuel price increase in Almaty, Kazakhstan January 5, 2022. (Photo by Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters)

Kanat Taymerdenov, the head of Almaty’s police department, said that over 120 vehicles were torched and over 500 civilians were injured due to the violent protests, WSJ reported.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev approved the resignation of the Cabinet and imposed a state of emergency in Almaty and the Mangistau province, which consists of a two-week curfew, according to WSJ.

Demonstrators ride a truck during a protest triggered by fuel price increase in Almaty, Kazakhstan January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

Demonstrators ride a truck during a protest triggered by fuel price increase in Almaty, Kazakhstan January 5, 2022. (Photo by Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters)

Although the recent protests were provoked by increasing fuel costs, the unrest may have been prompted by popular dissatisfaction with the Kazakh government since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Reuters reported.

Nursultan Nazarbayev became president in 1990, heading the country’s authoritarian government for decades until handing power over to Tokayev in 2019.

The Kremlin issued a warning against external interference in the former Soviet state during the current protests, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Margaret Peppiatt