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Paznyak Calls For 'Democratic Solidarity'

Prague, April 10 (RFE/RL) - The leader of the Belarus opposition Popular Front movement, Zyanon Paznyak, has appealed for "democratic solidarity" among the countries of eastern and central Europe.

In an interview with RFE/RL in Prague today Paznyak said such solidarity was needed to combat what he termed the "authoritarian, dictatorial" rule of Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Paznyak said his country was experiencing an "information blockade" and praised the work of news organisations like RFE/RL whom he said many people relied on in Belarus for independent information.

He said he had long been planning a trip to the region to muster support for his democratic movement but he said the trip had been "speeded up" by recent events in Belarus.

Paznyak claims his house has been under police surveillance since recent demonstrations in Minsk denouncing the Union Treaty signed by Russia and Belarus earlier this month.

The Popular Front movement was one of the main organisers of the demonstrations which were attended by thousands of people opposed to President Lukashenka's pro-Russian policies.

The treaty links the economies and political systems of Russia and Belarus but stops short of forming a single state.

Paznyak said the treaty violated some procedural requirements of the Belarus constitution and said it may be possible for parliament to make a legal challenge.

Following the demonstrations of March 24 and April 2 Lukashenka said a "criminal investigation" had been opened. Lukashenka also said some diplomats and foreign journalists who attended the rallies had been asked to leave the country.