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Minsk Officials Reject NGO Request For Demonstration


Yury Karetnikau, the leader of the Right Alliance

Yury Karetnikau, the leader of the Right Alliance

Minsk city authorities have rejected a request by the Right Alliance to hold a public gathering, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The movement planned to hold a rally called "Belarusian Schools for Belarus's Children!" on Bangalore Square in the Peoples' Friendship Park in Minsk on September 16. But city authorities say the gathering cannot be allowed because it might block public transportation.

The leader of the Right Alliance, Yuras Karetnikau, told RFE/RL that the authorities' explanation makes no sense as there is no public transportation in the park.

Russian is the predominant language in Belarus and the number of schools in Belarus that teach in the Belarusian language has decreased dramatically under President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has ruled the country since 1994.

A recent poll showed that 85 percent of Belarusians identify Belarusian as their language. But only 15 percent of Belarusians are able to properly speak Belarusian, as the Russian language predominates in the country.
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