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15.05.2010

Freedom March banned for the first time in five years

   

The District Administrative Court in Kyiv banned the annual Freedom March for reform of State policy on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs planned for 15 May.

Instead on St Michael Cathedral Square there was a rally of the Coalition of Participants in the Orange Revolution for the Right of Peaceful Assembly and Freedom of Speech, as well as a rally by the party VO “Svoboda” against propaganda of drugs.

The Press Attache of the Freedom March Taras Ratushny claims that the ruling banning the march, was passed on 14 May without representatives of the March being present at the hearing.

The official grounds given for the ban was the celebrations to mark European Days in Ukraine and possible clashes and mass riots.

In protest Taras Ratushny chained himself to the fence, explaining this as being prompted by the fear that the police could detain him and prevent him from holding the gathering.  There were about 10 supporters and Mr Ratushny read out demands including parliamentary hearings on State policy on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, eradicating corruption with narcotics in the police force and an amnesty for Ukrainian nationals convicted of possession of small amounts of drugs for their own use,  and also to legislate reduction in advertising of tobacco and alcohol.

Mr Ratushny says that despite the ban the March will take place during the year.

From information reported by Interfax - Ukraine

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