Chernobyl Way rally: journalist and activists detained

This year the traditional Chernobyl Way rally held in Minsk on April 26 was quite rough.

Before the rally, many activists of the ecological movement opposed to the construction of the nuclear plant had been detained. For example, chairperson of the Council of Ekodom Iryna Sukhiy, activists Vasil Siniukhin, Kanstantsin Kirylenka and Volga Kaskevich were arrested in front of their buildings. They were kept in the Piershamaiski police department and released right when the Chernobyl Way was over. Other ecologists, blocked in their apartments, couldn’t join the demonstration. The ecologists had intended to protest against the construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus during the Chernobyl Way rally 2013.

Earlier today in the town of Astraviets of the Grodna region where the nuclear power plant is being built leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Liabedzka and several accompanied journalists were detained twice.

Human rights activist Viachaslau Dashkievich was arrested near the building of the Savietski police department where some of the detained were taken. After the rally, activist of the anarchist movement Igar Trukhanovich was beaten up by four special services officers in civilian.

Even the journalists that were shooting the assault against Igar were detained, as well as other meeting participants on Bangalor Square.

Meanwhile, the Minsk State Executive Committee has authorized this Chernobyl Way rally. Its participants did not break any law. At 18:30, people gathered near the October cinema house. They were holding banners “Our Lives – The Nuclear Plant’s Price”, “We Are Against Nuclear Plant Construction”, “Hot Summer 1986 – For Whom?”. Young people in tissue masks distributed leaflets “Budget Spent on Nuclear Plant Leaves Nothing for Salaries”. The flags of the civil campaign European Belarus, Tell the Truth movement, the Belarusian Christian Democracy and the National People’s Front could be seen in the crowd. Those in the head of the demonstration were carrying the icon of the God Mother of Chernobyl. The people were chanting Long Live Belarus, No to the Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus, Astraviets is the Second Chernobyl.

The demonstration urged to release all political prisoners. The participants of the demonstration called all thirteen prisoners by names.

The place of the meeting, Bangalor Square, was surrounded with metal fence and yellow tape. OMON searched each participant of the demonstration carefully. They didn’t allow carry loud speakers on to the stage, although the organizers of the rally had received permit to use loud speakers.

During the meeting, a resolution was adopted that included demands to stop the construction of the Astraviets Nuclear Power Plant and release political prisoners. It was also announced that the National ecological committee named after Ivan Nikitchanka would be founded.

For more information on human rights violations during the rally, see (in Russian) the report on the results of monitoring of the Chernobyl Way rally 2013, prepared by Belarusian human rights defenders

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