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Protesters At Site Of Stalin-Era Killings In Belarus Pack Up After Construction Is Halted

Activists have dismantled their protest camp.
Activists have dismantled their protest camp.

MINSK -- Demonstrators have dismantled their protest camp near a protected historical site on the outskirts of the Belarusian capital after a controversial construction project was suspended.

Activists removed their tents on March 6 after 15 days of protests at the Kurapaty preserve, where at least 30,000 people were killed and buried by the Soviet authorities under dictator Josef Stalin in the 1930s and '40s.

The protesters say they will be back if construction of a business center resumes on a site adjacent to the preserve, which they see as hallowed ground.

Dozens of protesters began gathering at the construction site on February 20, saying that the project desecrates the memory of Stalin's victims.

Construction work was suspended on March 1 after Minsk city authorities met with the activists and agreed to halt the project and hold a nationwide discussion on the issue.

All machinery and construction equipment was removed from the site in the following days.

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