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Belarusian Lawmakers Continue Hunger Strike

Syarhey Skrabets (left) and Valery Fralou Prague, 7 June 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Belarusian parliamentarians Uladzimir Parfyanovich, Syarhey Skrabets, and Valery Fralou, who went on a hunger strike in the parliamentary building on 3 June, moved their protest to Fralou's house in Minsk on 5 June and are continuing their strike, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reported.

Fralou explained the move by the need of the three protesting deputies to be close to those giving them moral support.

The deputies are protesting the blockade by the parliamentary leadership of their initiative to put on the agenda a draft bill providing for democratic changes to the Election Code. They are also demanding the release of their political associate Mikhail Marynich, who has been in custody since 26 April.

Three activists of the opposition United Civic Party (AHP), who pitched several tents in the backyard of Fralou's house, joined the hunger strike on 5 June. The same day, police dismantled and confiscated the tents, warning the AHP activists that they could be punished for staging an unauthorized rally.