(Bloomberg) -- Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency in Almaty and the oil-rich Mangystau region as protests spread over a twofold increase in liquefied petroleum gas prices this year.
The state of emergency is in effect from Wednesday to Jan. 19, according to a decree signed by Tokayev and posted on the presidential website. Protesters clashed with police in Almaty, the largest city and former capital of the central Asian country, after demonstrations broke out in the western energy-producing region on Jan. 2.
The president on Tuesday had agreed to lower the price of LPG used widely for cars as a cheaper alternative to gasoline, as well as for cooking and heating, to 50 tenge ($0.11) a liter in the Mangystau region, according to his Twitter feed. At the start of the year, the price for the fuel had jumped to 120 tenge a liter from about 60 tenge after the government announced a move to market pricing.
“All legal requests and demands from your side will be carefully considered, and appropriate decisions will be made,” Tokayev said in an address to the nation late Tuesday. “I again appeal to you to show prudence and not succumb to provocations from within and from without.”
In the address, Tokayev vowed that the government “won’t fall” in the face of protests, and threatened to punish any attacks on civilian or military buildings. The government will meet to discuss the protesters’ demands Wednesday, he said.
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