Kazakhstan declares state of emergency amid unrest

The Kazakh government resigned on Wednesday as protests erupted across the country over a fuel price hike.

Police clashed with protesters in the nation’s biggest city Almaty and security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to stop hundreds of people from storming the mayor’s office.

In a video message to the country on Tuesday President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev urged protesters to behave rationally:

"Those calls to attack the government and military buildings are completely illegal. This is a crime that could be followed by punishment. The government will not fall, but we want mutual trust and dialogue rather than conflict."

Many Kazakhs fill their cars with liquid petroleum gas because price caps keep it cheaper than gasoline, but the government lifted those caps over the weekend arguing that the low price was unsustainable.

In response to protests, the government did a U-turn and announced it was restoring the price cap to less than half the market price, but that hasn't stopped the protests.

On Wednesday, Deputy Alikhan Smailovy was appointed as acting prime minister.

ThePresident's office has issued a state of emergency and said Almaty and the western Mangistau province would be put under curfew and movement restrictions for two weeks.

Dissent is rare in the oil rich Central Asian nation, as public protest is illegal without notice.

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