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EU Ambassadors Visit Belarusian Hunger Strikers

Hunger strikers Syarhey Skrabets (left) and Valery Fralou (right) 7 June 2004 -- Ambassadors from eight European Union countries today visited six opposition party members in Belarus who are on hunger strike to protest the policies of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The strike was begun on 3 June by three members of Respublik, the only opposition party in the Belarusian parliament. They are protesting against a possible referendum on a third term for Lukashenka, demanding freedom for a jailed opposition leader, and pushing for changes in election laws.

On 5 June they were joined by three members of the opposition United Civil Party.

The protesters said they were grateful for the visit by ambassadors from Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia as well as the mission head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.