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Kyrgyzstan: Rally Organizer Detained

Prague, 17 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - One of the organizers of a protest rally in Bishkek today has been detained. Our Bishkek correspondent reports about 300 people participated in a rally by people who lost savings in the collapse of Kyrgyzstan state banks.

And, Topchubek Turgunaliev, the chairman of the "Erkin Kyrgyzstan" party and head of the new opposition movement "For deliverance from Poverty" was taken into police custody. TurgunAliyev was detained after being invited into the Government building to meet Prime Minister Apas Joumagulov.

The rally was called to demand President Askar Akayev sign a law passed in the Legislative Assembly in October. Under the law, the government should restore, over a ten-year period, the lost savings of people who had deposited their money in state banks. The law would require tens of millions of dollars be set aside in the budget each year, but the government says it can only allocate a fraction of the amount needed.

The first big rally by those who have lost savings was staged in September.