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Three Ukrainian citizens detained during the “Chernoby Wayl” rally in Minsk

27.04.2006 |

The three Ukrainians, all members of the Student Brotherhood, were detained during the rally as part of “Charnobylsky shlyakh” [“Chernobyl Way” in Minsk. This annual demonstration of the Belarusian opposition gathered several thousand people. The leader of the opposition, Aleksandr Milinkevich announced during the rally that a new civic movement “Za svobodu” [“For freedom”0 had been created.

Several thousand people came out onto the streets of Minsk chanting “Zhyve Belarus!” [“Long live Belarus!”] and other slogans. The purpose of the “Charnobylsky shlyakh” was not only to honour the victims of the Chernobyl Catastrophe, but also to gather as many supporters of the opposition as possible. After all, in the country any political rallies are prohibited. Under the scrutiny of the police, the demonstrators moved from the Academy of Sciences building to the central square of the capital (i.e. October Square) Law enforcement officials however stopped the opposition supporters from getting to the square despite the arguments of the demonstrators that their rally would be peaceful.

Aleksandr Milinkevich, leader of the opposition, stressed:

“It is absolutely crucial today that we hold protest actions in a totally peaceful manner. If we are fighting fear in the country, then it is vital that those people who are hesitating know that the protest actions will end peaceful and begin so also. For us this is extremely important. Although I can’t exclude such possibilities – the regime often uses provocations.”

During the rally, Belarusian law enforcement officials detained three Ukrainians, members of the Student Brotherhood, one of whom is a minor. The leaders of the organization have already appealed to the Ukrainian Consul to help obtain the release of those detained.

Meanwhile, Aleksandr Milinkevich stated that the Belarusian opposition will continue its protest actions. The next one is planned for 1 May.

Yevheniya Pryanykova, TV 5

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