Central Asian country lifts security measures in capital Nur Sultan and largest metropolis Almaty, officials say, more than two weeks after protests over fuel hike snowballed into nationwide turbulence.

Protests in an oil and gas-rich nation of 19 million began on January 2 in a small western town over the near-doubling of fuel prices.
Protests in an oil and gas-rich nation of 19 million began on January 2 in a small western town over the near-doubling of fuel prices. (AA Archive)

Kazakhstan has ended a state of emergency it declared on January 5 as the Central Asian country returns to routine life following a week of unrest that left hundreds dead and brought a regional bloc’s peacekeepers to the country's streets.

The end of the emergency measures on Tuesday brought life back to normal, especially in the national capital Nur Sultan, the country's largest metropolis Almaty, and the provinces of Atyrau, Jambyl, Kyzylorda, and Mangistau.

Security measures on the streets were lifted, along with a curfew imposed at certain hours. Restrictions on travel into and out of cities were also lifted.

Presidential press spokesperson Berik Uali said in a statement that order and peace have been ensured throughout Kazakhstan.

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Fuel price protests

Protests in Kazakhstan, an oil and gas-rich nation of 19 million, began on January 2 in a small western town over the near-doubling of fuel prices.

But they quickly spread across the vast country, growing into a general protest against the government and turning into violent riots that killed over 220 people. 

More than 4,300 people were injured, and thousands have been detained by authorities.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who blamed "armed gangs" and "foreign terrorists" for violence, turned to a Russia-led military bloc for help, and peacekeepers from Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and Tajikistan soon arrived and backed the Kazakh law enforcement in restoring order.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies