Authorities demand actions of protest against chemical plant be stopped

2008 2008-05-15T17:30:18+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

A group of state officials headed by the energy minister Alexander Aziartsou has met with the working collective of heat station #5 in the settlement of Druzhny (Pukhavichy district). Earlier the officials demanded that the people stopped the actions of protest against the construction of a chemical plant, started by the Russian company Avgust-Bel. The activists stay they will sue on this issue.

The group of officials included the head of the National Academy of Sciences Mikhail Miasnikovich, the main sanitation doctor Valiantsina Kachan and the officials of the oblast and district ‘verticals’.

The topic of the talks was kept in secret. ‘We were not told that the question of the chemical plant will be discussed. We expected a talk about the development of the heat station, but when we came to the assembly, we saw there many other officials besides the energy minister. At the assembly our director openly stated that they knew who of us expressed these or that thoughts. We were threatened with attestation and dismissals,’ commented Iryna Anoshka, a heat station engineer.

According to Iryna, the assembly took place during a working shift. Being dissatisfied with the statements of the authorities more than 200 persons left the assembly hall. Now the administration of the heating station demands from them written explanations, allegedly for absence on their working places.

The journalists did not manage to take any comments from the minister. However, they managed to talk to the director of the heat station Uladzimir Kishko.

Correspondent: What relation does your station have to the construction of the chemical plant?
Kishko: No relation at all.
Correspondent: Why then there was an assembly dedicated to this topic?
Kishko: There was no assembly at our enterprise.
Correspondent: And the minister of energy did not come to you?
Kiskho: No, he came, but we have many other issues we are trying to solve.

An engineer of the heat plant Tatsiana Rysiavets, activist of the initiative group of protesters, had troubles when getting to the assembly, as the enterprise guards did not want to let her in.

‘I asked the presidium: why don’t you make concession to the Belarusian people, but make them to a Russian enterprise? Then the minister uttered: ‘How much were you paid?’ Naturally, I was indignant and said that I would sue him. And I will. I also answered that I was not from Belarus, but my husband was from Rudzensk. My children have grown up here, my grand and grandchildren will live here. I have nowhere to go and I cannot be silenced. They can only kill me,’ commented Mrs. Rysiavets.

According to her, at present the activists of the initiative group are waiting for written answers from the government, the Constitutional court and the prosecutor’s office to the address of six thousand dwellers with the demand to stop the construction of the plant.

The plant is to be constructed by the Russian company Avgust-Bel and will produce pesticides. The dwellers of the settlements of Druzhny, Svislach, Rudzensk, Dukora and other ones protest against it. They don’t believe to the official statements and conclusions of the state experts and demand an independent ecological expertise and a local referendum concerning the expedience of such harmful industry in their region.

The high state officials, in their turn, state that the final decision in this case must belong to the government. However, the Belarusian representative of Avgust-Bel states that all the necessary documents for construction of the plant have been already receive and the personnel is being hired already.

The activists of the initiative group of protesters are preparing a suit against the company and the local authorities because of the violations of the legislation. One of the activists, Siarhei Abrazouski, has already been fined for having organized a meeting of protest in the settlement of Druzhny. An administrative case has been brought against him for a similar meeting in the settlement of Svislach.