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Kazakhstan: Thousands Rally For Improved Living Conditions

Almaty, 17 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Several thousands people demonstrated in the capital today to voice economic and political demands, reports RFE/RL's Almaty bureau.

The rally at the building of Scientists' House was addressed by trade union leaders, who demanded improved living standards, payment of overdue salaries and pensions, and a meeting with representatives of the government.

Some opposition leaders also called for the government's resignation. Prime Minister Akejan Kajegeldin said yesterday he was too busy to meet demonstration organziers today. Authorities in several cities (Aktau, Arkalyk, Kostanay, Pavlodar, Petropavlovsk, Oskemen) said they would prohibit local trade unions from holding rallies today, designated the International Day Against Poverty.

Central Asian Conference Opens

A conference on Central Asian concerns opens tomorrow in Almaty. Historians and researchers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States members are expected to participate in the conference.