Demonstration Alert. January 8, 2021

Location:  Nationwide

Event:  Kazakhstan will hold parliamentary elections on Sunday, January 10, 2021. While civil unrest and/or protests are rare, there were protests associated with the country’s last national vote, including some of the largest demonstrations Kazakhstan has seen in 20 years.  U.S. citizens should anticipate an increased presence of security forces around the country and may experience road closures and alternate traffic patterns throughout the weekend.  Police have the authority to stop individuals without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

U.S. citizens should prepare for the possibility of spotty internet coverage or the absence of service altogether.  On Election Day in 2019, as well as during the lead-up to the vote on days with demonstration activity, some internet users reported that access was intermittently, and at times completely, blocked, including access to VPN services.  These outages coincided with protests, eliminating the potential to livestream and share live updates on social media and internet news platforms.

Non-sanctioned demonstrations usually end with mass arrests. Embassy personnel have been instructed to avoid observing elections-related events (including protests) in person.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests.

Actions to Take:

  • Avoid the areas of demonstrations.
  • Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
  • Monitor local media for updates.

For Assistance:  The U.S. Embassy is located at Rakhymzhan Koskharbayev Ave., No. 3, Nur-Sultan 010010. Please note, however, that the Embassy will be closed on Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10, 2021.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy is +7 7172 70 22 00.

The U.S. Consulate General Almaty is located at Samal-2, 97 Zholdasbekov Street, Almaty, 050051.  Please note, however, that the Consulate General will be closed on Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10, 2021.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Consulate General is 8 777 0072359.

For further information about security in Kazakhstan:

  • See the Department of State travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Kazakhstan Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.