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happening in kazakhstan

Amid unrest over fuel prices, Kazakhstan government resigns

With protesters in the streets demonstrating against high fuel prices, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Tuesday declared a two-week state of emergency in the country's Almaty and Mangystau regions. 

He also accepted the resignation of the government, appointing Alikhan Smailov as interim prime minister and Murat Nurtileu as first deputy chairman of the National Security Committee until a new government is formed, Radio Free Europe reports. Earlier Tuesday, Tokayev said during a video address that "calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal. The government will not fall, but we want mutual trust and dialogue rather than conflict."

Kazakhstan is an oil-rich country in Central Asia, and protests began breaking out after the government lifted price caps on liquefied petroleum gas on Jan. 1. In Kazakhstan public demonstrations are illegal unless organizers file a notice in advance, and a Reuters reporter in Almaty saw police officers fire tear gas and stun grenades at protesters. People who live in the areas under a state of emergency must stay inside from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and mass gatherings are banned.

Late on Tuesday, the government said it was restoring the price cap of 50 tenge (11 cents) per liter on liquefied petroleum gas in Mangystau, Reuters reports.