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Another Kyrgyz Region Joins Teachers' Pay Protest

BATKEN, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 60 secondary school teachers picketed the municipal administration building in the town of Batken in southern Kyrgyzstan today in a protest over pay, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The protesters, from the villages of Bujum and Kara-Bulak, told RFE/RL that they wrote to the Batken district authorities 10 days ago demanding a pay raise, more generous allowances, and cheaper utility fees, but received no response.

On December 20, some 600 secondary school and kindergarten teachers in the town of Balykchy in Kyrgyzstan's northern Issyk-Kul region staged a similar protest.

They criticized as insufficient the central government's offer to raise teachers' salaries by 30 percent as of January 1, following strikes and protests earlier this month by teachers in the southern districts of Bazar-Korgon, Suzak, and Ozgon.

Last week, disgruntled teachers in the southern Alai and northern Jeti-Oguz districts and Talas Oblast staged similar protests, saying that the 30 percent pay raise is inadequate.

Kyrgyz secondary school teachers earn an average monthly salary of some $30-$40.

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