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Ukraine: Demonstrators Jailed After Anti-Nuclear Protest

Kyiv, 9 May 1998 (RFE/RL) - Five demonstrators were jailed for about five hours today by Ukrainian authorities after staging an anti-nuclear protest outside of the board meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Kyiv.

Meanwhile, the head of a non-governmental organization told RFE/RL that Ukrainian security officials at the event briefly confiscated anti-nuclear literature that the group had hoped to distribute inside the conference hall.

The head of the group "Friends of the Earth," Jim Barnes, says the EBRD had approved the distribution of their pamphlets from a table within the forum. The literature argued against EBRD funding sought by the Ukrainian government for nuclear energy projects.

Barnes says the EBRD worked with his organization for the return of the pamphlets, but the literature was returned too late for distribution today.

Barnes told RFE/RL that about 18 delegates who had traveled to Kyiv from across CIS have not been allowed to attend the conference as expected. But he says the EBRD has agreed to allow a counter-forum nearby, and that senior bank officials are attending that event to hear the environmentalists' concerns.

The EBRD also is allowing seven accredited western environmentalists to be replaced at the board meeting by their colleagues from eastern Europe. Barnes praised the work of EBRD programs that aim to make energy usage more efficient in eastern Europe.