The protests shook the former Soviet republic’s image as a politically stable and tightly-controlled nation – which it has used to attract hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment into its oil and metals industries over three decades of independence.
Tokayev declared a state of emergency in Almaty and the oil-producing western Mangistau province early on Wednesday and has said that domestic and foreign provocateurs were behind the violence.
The protests began in Mangistau province on Sunday following the lifting of price caps on liquefied petroleum gas, a popular car fuel, a day earlier, after which its price more than doubled.
Speaking to acting cabinet members on Wednesday, Tokayev ordered them and provincial governors to reinstate LPG price controls and broaden them to gasoline, diesel and other “socially important” consumer goods.
He also ordered the government to develop a personal bankruptcy law and consider freezing utilities’ prices and subsidising rent payments for poor families.
He said the situation was improving in protest-hit cities and towns after the state of emergency was declared which effected a curfew and movement restrictions.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Kim Coghill, Robert Birsel and Michael Perry)