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2022 Kazakh unrest

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Protesters in Aktobe on January 4, 2022.

The 2022 Kazakh unrest, also known as Bloody January[1] are internal state riots in the Republic of Kazakhstan that have been going on since January 2, 2022. The reason why they started to persist is the increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas, which according to the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev began to change on January 1, 2022, when the price of LPG began to form on the market through electronic trading platforms and stock exchanges.[2][3]

This revolt will also be described as a "Western terrorist attack" by the President of Kazakhstan, who will refuse any negotiation with the demonstrators.

Timeline[edit | edit source]

2 January[edit | edit source]

On the morning of January 2, 2022, residents of Zhanaozen blocked the road in protest against rising prices. Residents who gathered there called on the mayors of the Nurlan Nogaev area and the mayors of the city of Maksat Ibagarov to take some measures in order to stabilize the price of fuel.[4]

3 January[edit | edit source]

Hundreds of Zhanaozen residents gathered in the central square during the night. About 1,000 people are taking part in the protests, and their demands, in addition to socio-political ones, have also become political. Akim districts and the director of the gas refinery appeared in front of the protesters, but left the square after the failure.[5][6]

4 January[edit | edit source]

Protestors setting up a yurt in Aktobe on 4 January 2022

During the day, the Kazakh authorities announced a reduction in prices in the Mangistau region to 50 tenge (about € 0.10) per liter. However, the demonstrations did not stop there.

Also, on January 4, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the participants in the demonstration with a video to “show reason” and not do anything illegal.

Meanwhile, demonstrations are spreading in other cities in Kazakhstan. In Almaty, protesters blocked parts of the city. Police have already appeared on Astan Square and blocked all accesses towards Square, but however protesters managed to move around the streets of Tola, Abaj and the other in the city center. There were also minor clashes between the demonstrators and the police and the Kazakh OMON. Police used on a shock-bomb and tear gas in the center of Alma ate, protesters led by the leader of the opposition Democratic Party, the Greenhole of Mamaj, gathered around the sports hall “Almaty Arena”. On the night of January 4-5, protesters began setting fire to official police vehicles, and the number in some media was estimated at between one and several thousand demonstrators. During the night, rumors surfaced about the introduction of military equipment in the city.

There were also demonstrations in cities like Atyrau and Nur-Sultan. In Atyrau, protesters gathered around the local market in the morning and marched in groups to the central square of Isatai and Mahambeta, where hundreds were gathered. Protesters surrounded Mahambet Dosmuhambetov, akim of the Atyrau region, and did not allow him to leave the square in his car. Imprisonments have been carried out in many cities. “Several hundred people” were detained in Nur-Sultan after the appearance of pro-demon media. In the evening, the social networks Telegram, WhatsApp and Signal ceased to function in Kazakhstan, and in Almaty, the broadcasting of the mobile Internet signal was stopped.

5 January[edit | edit source]

Kazakh provider Kazakhtelecom has locked the internet across the country. As a result, residents across the country began withdrawing money from their accounts, and queues appeared in front of ATMs, as contactless payment, card and electronic payments are no longer possible.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, during the riots, no less than eight police officers and officers of the National Guard were killed by that day, and 317 of them were injured.

According to public health institutions, 190 people reported to Almaty after the riots on January 4. Of the 190 patients, 40 came to the hospitals on their own, and 150 were brought. Due to severe clinical pictures, 40 people were hospitalized and seven were resuscitated, including four police officers. Of the total, 137 are police officers and 53 are civilians.

The commander of the city of Alma Ati announced that “extremist groups were activated” on the night of January 4-5. During the evening and night, over 120 vehicles were set on fire in the city, of which 33 were official police vehicles, ambulances and fire engines. 120 shop windows, 180 public catering facilities, 100 small and medium business offices were broken into. Over 500 people were beaten, 130 of them women and the elderly. According to the commander of the city, with the onset of the morning of January 5, new attacks by extremists were repeated.

During the day, the city command announced that Tole Bi Street, Rajimbek and Abay alleys, as well as the entire city center, were closed to traffic. About 300 demonstrators moved with batons from the west of the city towards the mentioned streets, after which they continued towards the city center. Shops and kiosks in the mentioned area of ​​the city were already closed. The protesters were left with scattered bricks and shell casings of hunting cartridges. Police were not present at the time, but protesters attacked a parked police car and damaged a military truck.

In addition, the protesters tried to break through to the old residence of the President of Kazakhstan in Almaty. About 3,000 protesters clashed with police over attempts to enter the city administration (akimat) and the old presidential residence. According to the protesters, the penetration of the city akimat building was partially successful, but the police retaliated with shock bombs. The opposing side also had shock bombs, batons and shields. Shortly after entering the akimat building, black smoke began to emanate from the building and gunfire was heard, and law enforcement agencies soon left the building due to a fire set by protesters. Thus, the building of the city akimat was occupied. About 10 police officers guarding the building were seriously injured. On the other hand, the Almaty presidential residence was occupied and set on fire by protesters.

In addition to the residence and akimat, television stations were also attacked, including the state TV channel “Kazakhstan”, Mir 24, KTK, and the board of the Nur Otan party in the Auezov region and the police administration building in Almaty. All the buildings were attacked and set on fire. In the building of the TV channel “Kazakhstan”, the protesters beat the workers and set the building on fire, while in Mir 24 they destroyed the equipment. KTK Television has suspended its broadcasting due to the burglary of the protesters in the television building. The police administration building was attacked, and police vehicles were set on fire throughout the day.

Also, in the early evening, the protesters began to build barricades and robbers appear, who will commit criminal acts throughout the night in the form of robbery, theft, robbery, disturbing public order and peace on a larger scale, breaking ATMs, and physical attacks on the population. Due to that, many residents of Alma Ata do not decide to leave their homes, and panic reigned among the population in general. Also, exchanges of fire between the police force and the demonstrators lasted throughout the evening and night.

In addition to the city, protesters also tried to attack the international airport in Almaty. They managed to capture it the moment the evacuation of airport workers began. Also, the bus station “Sajrjan” was under armed fire. During the night, special anti-terrorist operations began, in which part of the city was again brought under the control of the Kazakh authorities, including the international airport.

Many other cities in Kazakhstan were not peaceful either. In Aktobe, protesters tried to attack and occupy the city akimat, and shock bombs were used against them. According to the statement of Radio “Sloboda” (Kazakh Radio Azattyk), the Kazakh editorial office of the American “Free Europe”, there was an exchange of fire in Atyrau between police forces and protesters, where one protester was allegedly mortally wounded.

In Pavlodar, protesters initially wanted to express dissatisfaction with gas prices and low wages. However, in the meantime, they tried to take over the building of the akimat of the Pavlodar region. They were met by the akim of Pavlodar and the akim of Pavlodar region those who informed them of the measures that will be implemented in order to stabilize the situation in the country. In the evening, there was a conflict between the demonstrators and the police, and shock bombs and special purpose techniques were used in order to stop the protest. Due to the attempt at attacking the Akimat building, the police made the massage of demonstrators. During their interrogations, it was determined that most of the demonstrators were not residents of Pavlodar, but were brought from the Bayanaul region.

A monument to former Nursultan Nazarbayev was torn down and smashed in the city of Taldykorgan during demonstrations. In Ust-Kamenogorsk, on Republic Square, protesters demanded that the authorities and mayors of the East Kazakhstan region do something about high prices of products and fuel, low salaries and the work of public transport. Clashes broke out between the protesters and the police a little later, and explosions and exchanges of fire could be heard throughout the day.

6 January[edit | edit source]

During the night in Almaty, government forces tried to repel protesters from the city's administrative buildings, primarily police buildings. In the morning, it was announced that about 10 participants in the riots were killed in clashes with the police. There was also talk of 13 killed members of government forces, two of whom were beheaded. By evening, the number of dead law enforcement officers had risen to 18. During the second half of the day, it was reported in the media that over 2,000 demonstrators had been deprived of their liberty.[7]

7 January[edit | edit source]

Burned building in Republic Square

In his address to the people of Kazakhstan at the morning session of the counter-terrorist headquarters, President Tokayev spoke about the current situation in the country and said that he allowed the use of weapons without warning against those who carry out armed and terrorist attacks, that the fight against terrorists must end that “all who do not surrender will be destroyed.” It is also allowed to release internet traffic in certain regions at certain times, and that in those regions where the situation in the country has not been destabilized, the state of emergency will be gradually lifted.[8]

8 January[edit | edit source]

On January 8, Kazakhstan's Intelligence Service said that former head of the National Security Council, Kerim Mesimov, had been arrested on suspicion of treason, and Reuters described the arrest as “the former Soviet republic is suppressing a wave of unrest and is starting to escalate.”

9 January[edit | edit source]

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan denied information about the death of 164 people published in official sources.

10 January[edit | edit source]

On January 10, the government declared a day of mourning for the dozens of people who lost their lives in the protests. Kazakhstan's Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that a total of 7,939 people were detained across the country. The National Security Council, Kazakhstan's intelligence and counter-terrorism agency, said the situation in the country was "stabilized and under control".

11 January[edit | edit source]

On 11 January 2022, The government announced the military department of the OTC in the days of Venus.

References[edit | edit source]