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Ukrainians Rally In Kyiv To Support Donetsk Protesters

November 30, 2011

KYIV -- Some 3,000 veterans of the 1986 cleanup of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster and the Soviet Union's Afghan war picketed the Ukrainian government building in Kyiv on November 29, protesting planned cuts in social allowances, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The protesters demanded the annulment by November 30 of all amendments that have been passed which cut pensions and social allowances. They also called for a moratorium on further amendments to these social laws.

The protesters are also demanding justice for retired miner Hennadiy Konoplyov, 70, who died of a heart attack on November 27 in the eastern city of Donetsk while police forcibly removed a large tent used by Chornobyl veterans who have been on hunger strike since November 15.

Donetsk is President Viktor Yanukovych's hometown.

The government decided in September to cut the pensions of Chornobyl cleanup and Afghan war veterans and of elderly people who used to receive additional financial allowances for either having fought or worked as children during World War II.

That decision triggered protests across Ukraine, including one on November 30 by dozens of activists and veterans in the eastern city of Kharkiv.


Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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