Almaty Airport suspends operations amid escalating protests

Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan. Image: © Google Earth / Maxar Technologies

Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan has suspended operations on Wednesday evening (January 5th) after protesters were able to storm and ‘seize’ the airport.

Local reports said that some employees were forced to flee the area. Flights heading to Almaty were diverted or cancelled and multiple airlines have now ceased flying to Kazakhstan’s largest city. It is unclear when flight operations would be able to resume.

This comes amid an escalating wave of violent anti-government protests in the autocratic central Asian country. Since Tuesday, civil unrest has caused significant chaos, especially in Almaty. In response, Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev sacked his cabinet and declared the state of emergency. He also described the protesters occupying the airport as ‘terrorists’.