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Teachers In Northern Kyrgyzstan Join Protests For Better Pay

JETI-OGUZ, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 500 secondary-school teachers in northern Kyrgyzstan have picketed the local governor's office demanding a salary increase, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kyrgyz Education and Science Minister Kanat Sadykov met with the protesters in the Jeti-Oguz district of the northern Issyk-Kul region.

He told them the government was considering the possibility of raising the average salary of secondary-school teachers by 30 percent.

But the demonstrating teachers say the 30 percent increase is not enough.

Kyrgyz secondary-school teachers earn an average of about $30-$40 per month. The teachers in Jeti-Oguz are demanding $300-$320 per month.

Protesting teacher Karybai Chakibashev told RFE/RL the demonstrators were demanding a meeting with President Roza Otunbaeva on December 14. He said the teachers' representatives planned to give Otunbaeva their written demands.

Chakibashev said that unless the teachers' demands were met in seven days, all secondary-school teachers in Jeti-Oguz would start a long-term strike on December 20.

The protest by the Jeti-Oguz teachers was preceded by protests and strikes of secondary-schools teachers in Kyrgyzstan's southern districts of Bazar-Korgon, Suzak, and Ozgon, several of which are still ongoing.

Read more in Kyrgyz here