TOLYATTI, Russia -- Fifty veterans of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster cleanup began a three-day hunger strike in the Russian city of Tolyatti today, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.
Albina Petrova, the deputy chairwoman of Samara Oblast's Union of Chornobyl Veterans, told RFE/RL that the hunger strike is a preliminary action and further protests will continue if their demands for pensions and financial allowances are not met.
She said local authorities and the courts are reluctant to provide support either to Chornobyl veterans individually or to the Union of Chornobyl Veterans in general.
Petrova said all the veterans in the union have health problems and are legally handicapped as a result of the Chornobyl disaster, which occurred in 1986 at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
It is considered to be the worst nuclear power plant accident in history and resulted in massive radioactive pollution.
Most deaths from the accident were caused by radiation poisoning.
Thousands of Soviet citizens from different parts of the Soviet Union were forced to take part in the cleanup of the accident.
Many of them died or have serious health problems.