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Belarusian Officials OK Rally, Ban March On Chornobyl Anniversary

Yury Khadyka, head of the organizing committee to hold a rally and march in Minsk on the anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster
MINSK -- Minsk city officials have granted permission for a gathering on April 26 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster, but banned a planned march, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Yury Khadyka, chairman of the NGO Chornobyl Path's organizing committee, told RFE/RL that the rally will be held in the Peoples' Friendship Park in Minsk between 6-8 p.m. on April 26.

The original plan was to march from the Academy of Sciences to the Chornobyl Chapel in Minsk, as the Chornobyl Path usually does every year on the anniversary of the disaster.

Khadyka said Minsk authorities explained their refusal on April 19 to allow the march by citing a law that bans processions near subway stations.

"Every year they allowed [us] to march, but this year they say it is against the regulations [and] no further explanations were given," Khadyka told RFE/RL.

He said his organization will decide today whether to proceed with the march.

The total meltdown at Chornobyl's No. 4 reactor in 1986 killed dozens of people and caused thousands of others to fall ill.

Tens of thousands were displaced as radiation spread to many parts of Europe but primarily to the territory of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia.

Read more in Belarusian here