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Strike By Kyrgyz Teachers Spreads

OZGON, Kyrgyzstan -- A strike by schoolteachers in southern Kyrgyzstan has spread to a second district, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Some 500 schoolteachers in Ozgon went on strike today, joining colleagues from nearby Bazar-Korgon, another district in the Osh region, who have been on strike since the beginning of the month.

The Ozgon teachers picketed the local administration building to demand a pay increase and reduced utility fees.

Local union leader Tolonbai Mashrapov told RFE/RL that the teachers represented all 21 secondary schools in the district.

Ozgon district education department spokesman Boronchu Kokoev told RFE/RL that department head Ibadat Murzaibraimova met with the striking teachers and promised to relay their demands to the central government.

The picketers started to disperse after the meeting with Murzaibraimova.

Meanwhile, one of the striking teachers in Bazar-Korgon, Kalil Karabaev, said today that the number of teachers on strike in that district had risen to 150.

They are demanding a salary increase and land and allowances to build homes.

They also say the president and Education Ministry should monitor fulfillment of the promise by the local government on December 6 to give each teacher 10 kilograms of rice, one sack of flour, 5 kilograms of sugar, and 5 liters of vegetable oil.

The teachers say that not all of them have received that allowance.

Teachers in the northern Jeti-Oguz district announced this week that they would go on strike on December 13 in solidarity with their colleagues in the south of the country.

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