Chernobyl march organizers meet with Minsk police chiefs

Organizers of this year's Charnobylski Shlyakh (Path of Chernobyl) march on Friday met with senior officers of the Minsk city police department to discuss details...

Charnobylski Shlyakh Organizers of this year's Charnobylski Shlyakh (Path of Chernobyl) march on Friday met with senior officers of the Minsk city police department to discuss details of the demonstration to be held on April 26, the 21st anniversary of the nuclear accident.

Alyaksey Yanukevich, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) who is among the organizers, told BelaPAN that the talks were "constructive."

Apart from him, also taking part were Yuras Zyankovich, a member of the BPF Council, and Anatol Sidarevich, deputy chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party "Hramada."

The Minsk City Executive Committee granted permission for the march but said that it should start on the square in front of the National Academy of Sciences, not on Yakub Kolas Square as the organizers proposed in the application.

The city authorities said that the march should run on sidewalks along Surhanava Street to Peoples' Friendship Park on Bangalore Square.

According to Mr. Yanukevich, the police had not yet decided whether it would block off Yakub Kolas Square on April 26.

The group of the opposition activists asked the officers to allow demonstrators who would still arrive at the square to march to the building of the academy of sciences, as well as to facilitate the movement of demonstrators along Surhanova Street. The officers agreed to satisfy the latter request.

"We hope that no force will be used against Shlyakh participants and are ready to continue talks with the authorities," Mr. Yanukevich said.

"I was told to do everything possible to ensure that no criminal proceedings are instituted against me," he added.

The organizers of the march oppose the proposed changes in the route. They consider appealing the city executive's reply to court.