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Kyrgyzstan: Hundreds Rally For Second Time This Week

Bishkek, 17 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- About 300 people rallied yesterday in front of the government building in Bishkek. Prime Minister Apas Joumagulov met rally organizers and heard their proposal to form a citizen-government commission.

On Tuesday, about 1,500 people rallied at the government building, protesting rising prices and a declining standard of the living. Some pensioners among the demonstrators said their monthly pension payments are not even enough to buy gas supplies for heating.

Prime Minister Joumagulov also visited two areas of the capital where large groups of homeless people live. The homeless organized several rallies during the summer, demanding the government address their needs, including a lack of electricity and water supplies in their slum dwellings.

Joumagulov promised electrical power would be provided soon. Many people have moved to Bishkek from destitute rural areas of Kyrgyzstan, seeking jobs and a better life.

President Addresses Parliament About Energy Privatization

Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev says the country's entire energy-generating capacity should remain in state hands for about 15 years, but that some small branches could be privatized before that time.

Akayev made the statement yesterday in an address to Parliament. Our Bishkek correspondent reports the Parliament last week had rejected a draft law on energy generation, with some deputies saying they disagreed with proposals to privatize some energy-generating operations.