Hrodna: Catholics Declare Hunger-strike

2006 2006-12-01T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

In Hrodna believers of the Roman Catholic parish of Our Lady of Vostraia Brama, Mother of Mercy have announced a hunger-strike of protest. The matter is that since 1997 they cannot receive the official permission for building a church. They have obtained a peace of land for that, but haven’t received the permission to erect the building. They have written numerous letters and complaints to the authorities, but all in vain. The parish is situated in a populous district of the city and has about 5 000 members. At present divine masses are served at a chapel that houses less than 100 persons.

A week ago the leader of the protestors, priest A.Shemet had an audience with the chair of Hrodna Regional Executive Committee Uladzimir Sauchanka. Mr Sauchanka assured him that the permission will be issued. However, the official didn’t keep the promise. As a result the believers decided to take a radical step and declared a hunger-strike. Now more than 10 persons with A.Shemet at the head are hungering.

We should remind, that believers of the Protestant church New Life also struggled for their rights with the means of hunger-strike. It lasted for 23 days and became the most massive hunger-strike in Belarusian history. The believers stopped the action only when the authorities reversed the decisions according to which the religious community was deprived of their building and peace of land.