LONDON (AFP) – Unrest in OPEC+ member Kazakhstan has driven up oil prices as investors fear supply disruptions, but the uranium market looks to be less affected, despite Kazakhstan being the world’s second largest producer.

“Riots certainly have the potential to halt production and exports,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, an analyst at the Swedish bank SEB.

Crude prices rose around 5% this week, and Brent reached $83 per barrel on Friday, “placing it at its highest level since the price drop precipitated by the first appearance of the Omicron type in late November,” according to Carsten Fritsch, commodities analyst at Commerzbank.

Protests erupted across the country of 19 million people this week in response to a New Year’s increase in the price of liquid petroleum gas (LPG), which many people use to fuel their cars.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Almaty and the western region of Mangystau in anti-government protests.

On Tuesday, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at thousands of protesters in Almaty.

Protesters invaded government buildings the next day, lighting them on fire, and a statewide state of emergency was declared.

After days of extraordinary upheaval, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev rejected demands for discussions with demonstrators on Friday, authorising his forces to fire to kill without warning.

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