On 25 May four members of the Zhodzina-based Young Front went on hunger strike to protest against the wave of expulsions from universities, including secondary schools
This is the information provided by www.belngo.info. Among the hunger strikers is the under-age Siarzhuk Murashka, who was expelled from a polytechnic college last week. The Young Front leadership says that in case the legal demands of the hunger strikers are not fulfilled in the near future, the Zhodzina action will become nation-wide.
According to Paval Krasouski, the chair of the Zhodzina branch of the Young Front, the following students have been expelled for political reasons over the past month: Kiryl Shymanovich – legal school of BSU, Siarzhuk Murashka – polytechnic college, Alies Smolski – military school, Siarzhuk Savich – academy of the interior, Zmitsier Chartkou – arts academy. Yesterday on 24 May Paval Kareniukhin was expelled from Pleshchanitsy-based state school of the Olympic reserve. The Young Front members Natallia Maksimava and Volha Halubiets, who are students in Zhodzina women's gymnasium, threaten that the girls would be deprived of the opportunity to carry on with their studies.
To protest the repressive actions by the authorities, Zmitsier Chartkou, Iauhien Valkaviets, Alies Vinahradau and the minor age Siarzhuk Murashka went on hunger-strike. They think this is the only opportunity they have to defend their right to education. The strikers argue that the action will only end after Siarzhuk Murashka is allowed to carry on with his studies, and after pressure on Natalia Maksimava and Volha Halubiets are stopped. They hope that in this way they will be able to stop reprisals against the youths whose political views do not agree with the policies of the authorities.
Before the hunger-strike, the Young Front members went to the local city executive committee, requiring that reprisals against the colleagues be stopped. Several dozens of young people signed under a petition. But the authorities have not reacted to the statement in any way. At the same time, Zhodzina street cleaners carefully took down all of the leaflets put up throughout the city which informed of the Young Front hunger-strike.
The assistant to the co-chairs of the YF Siarzhuk Lisichonak claims that the leadership of the Young Front is prepared to join the action of their Zhodzina colleagues at any time. In the near future a delegation from Minsk will be sent to Zhodzina, which will be supervising the state of the hunger-strikers, have talks with the local authorities and administrations of the educational establishments in an attempt to resolve the conflict.
On the first day of the hunger strike the participants feel well and plan to continue the action in defense of their rights and the rights of their colleagues. All of the four people stay together to support each other and watch the state of health. As we found out, the hunger-strikers plan to put up a tent in the near future.