Energy price hikes have prompted widespread civil unrest across the Central Asian nation
The protests against energy price hikes in Kazakhstan are escalating, with an angry crowd storming the mayor’s office in Almaty. In another major city, Aktobe, demonstrators have taken over the administration building.
Clashes resumed in the center of Almaty on Wednesday morning, with a crowd of some 3,000 gathering outside the mayor’s office.
The protesters, many of them armed with bats and other objects, began storming the building. The police responded with flashbang grenades and other crowd control means. However, it wasn’t enough to hold off the demonstrators, who eventually made it inside. Several officers were reportedly beaten up in the fracas, with rioters seizing their helmets and shields.
Videos from Aktobe – a city of half a million in the west of the country – captured a large crowd ascending the steps of the city’s administration building unhindered by the police.
Earlier reports claimed the officers had refused to arrest the demonstrators and had said they were in solidarity with the people.
Around a thousand protesters demonstrated in Aktobe, according to local media estimations.