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Thousands Of Oppositionists Rally In Minsk

Demonstrators in Minsk on April 26 (RFE/RL) April 26, 2006 -- Several thousand opposition demonstrators have rallied in the Belarusian capital Minsk on the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear accident.

Addressing the crowd, opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich vowed to continue a campaign of peaceful protests to try to drive President Alyaksandr Lukashenka from power.

Milinkevich urged the crowd to maintain the momentum achieved during an unprecedented week of protest that followed Lukashenka's reelection last month.

Earlier, Milinkevich was summoned by prosecutors and warned he could face prison in case of unrest during the rally.

"I was warned that if I violate the law, I may receive not only administrative punishment but also criminal one," he said.

Authorities also warned demonstrators to stay away from the central Minsk square which was the site of last month's protests.

Reports from Minsk say busloads of police and several detention vehicles drove into streets near the square hours before the rally was due to start.


RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, And Moldova Report

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