Residents attacked public buildings in El Alami, and security forces were unable to control protests in the country’s largest city and economic capital, not even after the government backtracked on the fuel increase that sparked the popular uprising.
About 2,000 people were arrested in El Alami city alone, according to the Interior Ministry, and more than 300 police were injured. The protests are already the largest since the country gained independence in 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.
The protesters even took over the city’s airport, according to Reuters news agency, but on Thursday afternoon (6), the place was again under military control. Trade was looted, cars set ablaze and littered the streets.
Security forces monitor protesters in the center of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, during a protest on January 5, 2022 – Photo: Vladimir Tretyakov/Associated Press
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Tuesday (4) declared a state of emergency and a curfew in the country that were not respected. He also promised to reduce fuel prices to “ensure stability in the country” and dissolve the government itself, but he did not resign..
Protests and the ‘Peace Force’
Demonstrations also began to reflect other residents’ discontent with the government and embrace other demands, such as a change in the political system, direct election of local governments, an end to arbitrary arrests, and a reduction in inequality.
Amid the violent unrest, Russia announced on Thursday (6) the deployment of a “peace force” that includes military personnel from Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, countries that make up the OTSC (Collective Security Treaty Organization) along with Kazakhto me.
A statement from the OTSC says that The main objective of the soldiers “will be to protect important government and military installations and to assist law and order forces (…) in stabilizing the situation.”.
A man walks past the city hall in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, which was set on fire during protests that erupted over high fuel prices and culminated in the fall of the government on January 6, 2022 – Photo: Pavel Mikheev/Reuters
the Kazakhstan It is the ninth country in the world in terms of land area, but its population is relatively small (18.8 million people). Its capital is the city of Nur-Sultan, and the most populous is Almaty.
Rich in oil, gas and uranium and responsible for 60% of LPG in Central Asia, the KazakhstanIt is the largest of the former Soviet Union republics and the most influential nation in the region. The country is also bordered by Russia to the north and China to the east.
The country gained independence in 1991, amid the collapse of the Soviet Union, and a government considered authoritarian. Before Kasim-Jomart Tokayev, the country was ruled for three decades by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the 81-year-old former president after whom the capital is named.
Nazarbayev did not leave power until 2019 amid anti-government protests, which he tried to contain by resigning. However, he appointed his successor, incumbent President Tokayev, in an election criticized by international observers.
Although he is no longer in power, Nazarbayev remains an influential figure in the country, and analysts say he is the main target of the current protests. Allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nazarbayev until Wednesday remained the head of the country’s powerful Security Council.
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