Kazakhstan’s president has accepted the resignation of the government, hours after he declared a state of emergency in large parts of the country in response to a rare outbreak of unrest.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has appointed Alikhan Smailov as acting prime minister, the president’s office said early on Wednesday. Smailov was previously the first deputy prime minister.
The political moves follow protests, sparked by rising fuel prices, that began in the west of the country over the weekend and have spread quickly.
On Tuesday evening, video footage from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, showed lines of riot police and numerous crowd control vehicles massed in the centre of the city.
Police used stun grenades and teargas after crowds refused to disperse, AFP reported, estimating there were more than 5,000 people present. Later, there were unverified reports of police cars on fire in Almaty, and videos from a number of other cities appeared to show protesters braving subzero temperatures and a large presence of security forces.
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