Opposition leaders on importance of marking BNR anniversary


Opposition leaders, at a news conference on March 19, emphasized the importance of celebrating the 95th anniversary of the proclamation of the short-lived Belarusian National Republic, BelaPAN said.

"The importance of fighting for Belarus' independence is very high today," said Alyaksey Yanukevich, leader of the Belarusian Popular Front. "The matter is as much important as never before. That's why I want to call on all those to whom the ideals and values of the Belarusian National Republic, the ideals and values of our country's and its people's independence are important to have a worthy involvement in all these events and attend the demonstration and the rally."

Yury Hubarevich, of the Movement for Freedom, accused the Minsk city authorities of trying to make it as much difficult as possible for people to celebrate the BNR anniversary.

Participants will gather for the authorized March 24 march near the Kastrychnik movie theater in Minsk at noon and march along Independence Avenue and Surhanava Street to People's Friendship Park in Bangalore Square for a final rally that will end at 3 p.m.

The organizers wanted to gather near the Central Botanical Garden and not the Kastrychnik movie theater, Mr. Hubarevich said, explaining that half of the square in front of the theater had been turned into a construction site and closed to the public.

In addition, the city government has banned the use of signs and banners and "other means" during the demonstration, citing the Mass Events Law, he said. "We have consulted lawyers and believe that the 'other means' do not include flags," he said. "That is why we call on people to use national symbols during the street event," he said.

Vital Rymashewski, a co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party, expressed certainty that "in Belarus there are many courageous, worthy people who cannot be scared by empty intimidations and warnings by authorities."

"We hope that people will turn up for the march and will be in a festive mood," he said.