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Belarusian Activists Protest At Russian Atomic Agency In Moscow

Protest leader Andrey Azharouski
MOSCOW -- Belarusian antinuclear activists have picketed the Moscow building of Russia's state nuclear agency, Rosatom, protesting Moscow's plans to build a new nuclear station in western Belarus, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

One of the organizers of the picket, Andrey Azharouski, told RFE/RL that November 18 was chosen as the date for the picket because Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, were scheduled to meet and might sign the agreement under which Russia will make available the first installment of funding for the project.

A bilateral agreement under which Russian will loan Belarus $9.4 billion to fund construction of the plant was signed during a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Minsk in March.

Azharouski told RFE/RL that some 30 activists took part in the protest. They unfolded big placards saying, "Nuclear plant in Astravets -- no, thank you!" and "Rosatom, hands off Belarus!"

The protesters also brought with them a 3-meter-high effigy of a human figure inscribed "Nuclear death" and "Chornobyl and Fukushima is what Rosatom offers Belarus."

Representatives of the Belarusian Green party, the "The Astravets Nuclear Station is a Crime" campaign, the Ecological Home (Ekodom) NGO, the Scientists for a Nuclear-Free Belarus movement, the Antinuclear Resistance group, and other antinuclear lobby groups also took part in the protest, as did several Russian activists.

Read more in Belarusian here