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Video shows crowds in Kazakhstan forcing military to retreat, as violent fuel-price protests roil the country

A burning police car in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on January 5, 2022.

REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

  • Violent protests have swept Kazakhstan since the government lifted a cap on fuel prices.
  • Video from the city of Almaty shows military vehicles being forced back by crowds.
  • The chaos prompted the Kazakh government to resign.

Protesters in Kazakhstan forced the military to withdraw in a striking scene from the violent protests roiling the former Soviet nation this week.

Protests started in the fuel-producing western province of Mangistau on Sunday, after the government removed a price cap on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). They have since spread nationwide.

The price of LPG, one of the most popular fuels in the country, doubled as soon as the cap was lifted.

One video, first posted on Telegram by the Russian-language news site Briefly Speaking, showed an advancing group of protesters in Almaty hurling bricks and other projectiles at three armoured vehicles, forcing them to turn around and retreat. 

On Tuesday night, as many as 5,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, France’s AFP agency reported.

The military was deployed to disperse the protests, but video showed demonstrators fighting back. Police used tear gas and stun grenades on protesters in Almaty, according to Reuters.

Police detained more than 200 people, the outlet said, while 95 police officers were injured.

Protests without a permit in Kazakhstan are illegal. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tweeted that protestors were “destructive individuals who want to undermine the stability and unity of our society.”

Tokayev’s cabinet resigned on Wednesday and Tokayev imposed an overnight curfew and state of emergency for Almaty and the Mangystau province lasting for two.

Protesters have demanded the price cap be reinstated.

Tokayev told his new acting cabinet and provincial governors Wednesday that price controls on LPG, as well as gasoline and diesel, should now return, Reuters said.

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