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Belarusian Activists Honor Victims Of Stalin-Era Killings In Kurapaty


Dozens of Belarusian opposition activists have marched to a site near Minsk to honor thousands of people who were executed there by the Soviet secret police.

The participants gathered at Minsk’s Park Chaluskincau metro station on November 5 before heading to the Kurapaty woods on the outskirts of the capital.

The march, which was organized by the opposition Belarusian Popular Front (BPF), was sanctioned by the authorities.

The marchers included BPF Chairman Ryhor Kastuseu and other leaders of the party; Vital Rymasheuski, head of the opposition Christian Democrats; and Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of the unregistered Malady Front (Youth Front) movement.

At least 30,000 people were killed and buried at the Kurapaty preserve by the Soviet authorities under dictator Josef Stalin in the 1930s and '40s.

In March, Belarusian authorities halted a construction project near the protected historical site following a 15-day protest.

The protesters said the construction of a business center adjacent to the preserve would desecrate the memory of Stalin's victims.

Authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government tolerates little dissent and protests are frequently broken up.

Lukashenka, who has been president since 1994, won a fifth term in a 2015 election that was judged by Western monitors to be neither free nor fair.

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