On Tuesday, March 19, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation from the office of the presidency effective Wednesday, March 20. In a televised address on Tuesday evening (local time), Nazarbayev, who will remain chair of the country's Security Council and the ruling Nur-Otan party, indicated the speaker of the upper parliament chamber Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev will be named interim president.
Demonstrations in the wake of Nazarbayev's announcement are possible throughout the country over the coming hours and days. Heightened security measures are expected around all potential protest sites; clashes between police and protesters cannot be ruled out.
Protests calling for the resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in power since 1990, were reported across the country following the deaths of five children in a house fire on February 4. Police indicate the children died in the blaze while their parents were working an overnight shift. Demonstrators rallied in Astana, Almaty, and other cities on February 27 to call for the resignation of Nazarbayev days after he dismissed his cabinet. While the government has also allocated additional funds for families in an attempt to appease protesters, sporadic demonstrations continued in Kazakhstan amid heightened socioeconomic tensions.
Kazakhstan's law on public assembly is highly restrictive and effectively denies citizens the right to protest. Nevertheless, mass protests do occasionally take place in the country.
Individuals in Kazakhstan are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all political gatherings as a precaution, anticipate similar protests and associated disruptions over the coming weeks, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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