Belarusian opposition demonstration.

Cristina Alvarez, Madrid Cafe Babel

Belarusian opposition has only two large demonstrations allowed a year. A bit prior to the day of Europe Belarusians decided to have a demonstration in favor of integration. Cristina Alvarez, told us about this event in an exclusive reportage with photographs.

Belarusian opposition has two large demonstrations allowed a year. One of them is held on the 26th of April to commemorate the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986 in neighbouring Ukraine as Belarus was the country most affected with radiation. The direction of wind blew in such a way that the major part of contamination fell out in the southeast of the country, very close to the nuclear power plant that is situated a few kilometers away from the border between the two countries.

In the view of this, and from 1996, different groups of the opposition united to participate in so called "The march of Chernobyl" on Sunday, 26 of April at noon in Akademia Nauk, the center of Minsk. The demonstration was headed by various leaders of the opposition such as Andrei Sannikov, coordinator of the European Belarus campaign, leaders of Young Front and Young Belarus movements, and renowned scientists, and ex-professors among others.

Step by step marchers went carrying posters in commemoration of the tragedy and flags of the European Union. There were no Belarusian officials manifesting their opposition to the policy of the Government of Alexander Lukashenko. The construction of a nuclear power plant on the territory of Belarus itself was in the center of most discussions at the meetings of definite leaders. The consequences of Chernobyl are present in all parts and not only in the zone most affected. And cases of cancer, and diseases connected with large nuclear exposure are of the present day and will be for centuries a constant in the hospitals of the country. Due to this, the idea to construct the power plant in Belarus has caused indignation of a significant part of the society.

During various speeches in the square of Akademia Nauk everything was calm until some leaders exclaimed that the route of the march, that was going to start then, would not go the way permitted by the Government as it was to go along a street distant from the center hardly having any social repercussion. Decided to head towards the main avenue of the capital carrying flags in a peaceful march. In a few minutes special police squad came and closed the passage to the center to the demonstrators. During some minutes both parts stood in front of each other and did not know what would happen next. Finally, demonstrators conceded and the march went along the route permitted up to the church built in commemoration of Chernobyl.



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