March 28, 2023

The Kazakhstan government has blocked internet access for citizens as violent protests over fuel prices continue to sweep the country.

WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram messaging services are reportedly offline, and local operators Kaz Telecom, Beeline, and Kcell have shut down their services. The move comes after protests started to spread across the landlocked nation at the weekend, prompted by removal of a price cap on fuel.

Police reportedly used tear gas and stun grenades against hundreds of protesters massed in the main square in the city of Almaty and a state of emergency was declared, with a curfew and a ban on mass gatherings. Dozens of police officers have been killed.


Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, accepted the government’s resignation and pledged to restore the price cap. However, the protests continue thanks to widespread anger over poor living conditions and government corruption.

This isn’t the first time that Kazakhstan has attempted to restrict internet use.Kazakhstan desired to experiment with custom technical constraint that would enable censorship and increase cybersecurity and privacy risks.

Government’s requirement two years ago for internet users in the country to download and install a government-issued root certificate on all devices and in every browser in order to access the web. It will allow government to decrypt and read anything a user typed or posted, as well as intercepting their account information and passwords.


In 2019, Kazakhstan throttled and blocked social media when opposition groups called for a protest to coincide with World War II victory celebrations that month, and in 2018, Kazakhstan throttled social media when opposition leaders live-streamed events.

Internet shutdowns, are an increasingly common tactic by repressive governments attempting to suppress protests, conceal election results, and suppress critical speech.

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