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Belarus' Popular Front Calls For Support Of Independence

By Walter Stankevich

Prague, April 5, (RFE/RL) - The chairman of Belarus opposition's "Popular Front," Zenon Poznyak called today on people in Ukraine and other former Soviet republics to support Belarus' independence in order to preserve their own.

In an interview with RFE/RL in Prague, Poznyak said that the Union Treaty signed on Tuesday in Moscow by presidents of Belarus Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Russia's Boris Yeltsin is a threat to the independence of Ukraine. He said Ukraine could be "the next country to join the union."

Poznyak arrived in Prague after visiting the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, where he met representatives of the "Rukh" opposition movement and members of the Ukrainian media.

Poznyak told RFE/RL that the "Popular Front" and other organizations opposing Lukashenka's government are being driven underground since, in his words, there is "no freedom of speach and assembly" in Belarus. For this reason, he said that he is currently travelling to take his massage to other countries in the region.

The "Popular Front" was among the main organizers of the demonstrations in Minsk on March 24 and again on April 2 ,when some 20,000 Belarusians protested the Union Treaty, carrying flags that read "Save Belarus." Riot police broke up the demonstrations with tear gases and batons.