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Kazakhstan: Short News Items

Prague, 18 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - About 100 demonstrators claiming to represent the Workers' Movement of Kazakhstan held an unsanctioned gathering for two hours yesterday in front of the Kazakh parliament building in Almaty. The protestors demanded that the upcoming 80th anniversary of the Bolshevik "Great October" revolution on November 7 be celebrated as a national holiday. Our correspondent in Almaty says three deputies came out to address the protesters. Some demonstrators called for arming the population while others urged a campaign of civil disobedience. Members of the recently established Liberal Party have denounced yesterday's protest action.

Japan To Invest In Kazakh Trains

The Japanese government has agreed to invest the equivalent of $56.5 million in Kazakhstan's railroad improvement programs. Construction of a new repair facility for railway cars is to begin in Almaty next month with Japanese equipment and financing.

Germany Impounds Kazakh Jet

Kazakh authorities say German officials at Germany's Hannover airport have been holding a Kazakh Air Tupolev 154 aircraft for the past four days in a bid to persuade the Kazakh airline to pay off its $2 million debt to Switzerland.