ALMATY (Sputnik) – More than 200 people have been detained and nearly 100 police officers sustained injuries during unauthorised protests in several regions of Kazakhstan against a spike in fuel prices in the country, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.
The riots and detentions in question took place in the city of Almaty overnight Wednesday, turning into clashes between demonstrators and the police, who used gas and stun grenades against protesters.
“Pre-trial investigations have been launched into 13 cases of violence against government officials, hooliganism, and attacks on government buildings. More than 200 people were detained for violations of public order”, the ministry said in a statement.
In addition, 95 law enforcement officers sustained injuries and 37 police cars were damaged in the rallies, it read.
The protests have been ongoing since 2022 began, with people living in the cities of Aktau and Zhanaozen in the southwestern Mangystau Region demanding to curb a two-fold surge in gas prices in the country. The demonstrations then expanded to the regions of Atyrau and West Kazakhstan.
A new pricing policy from the country’s Energy Ministry, which went into effect on 1 January, determines prices for liquefied natural gas according to online stock trading. President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev ordered a commission to resolve the issue.
He also introduced a state of emergency in the Almaty and the Mangystau regions on Wednesday. The measure entails a curfew from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. (17:00-01:00 GMT), a ban on sales of weapons, alcohol, and ammunition, as well as the cancellation of mass events. Besides this, access to Almaty has been restricted along with movement in certain areas.
The state of emergency is set to last until 19 January.