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Kazakhstan: Rally Organizers Hold News Conference

By Merkhat Sharipzhan

Almaty, 19 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Organizers of a big protest rally in Almaty over the weekend held a news conference today. Our correspondent reports that one of the rally's organizers, former Almaty mayor Zamanbek Nurkadilov, today accused the current and former governments of corruption.

About 500 demonstrators on Sunday protested declining economic conditions. The rally was banned by the city administration, but the gathering went ahead peacefully and police did not interfere.

Many of the estimated 500 demonstrators were retirees who have not received their pensions in months. Others complained that had no gas or electricity in their homes and blamed the government for failing to pay its energy debts to Russia.

Organizers says they will ask permission to hold another rally December 1.

Missile Found; Landmine Blast Kills One

A Soviet-era, air-to-surface missile has been discovered in a Kazakh village. A farmer was using the missile as a support for a shelter for his sheep. Authorities said the missile was not dangerous.

A Kazakh shepard was killed and two other shepards recently were wounded in a land-mine blast. The shepards were in an unmarked area where military exercises used to be held.