Police Detains Reporter during Protest Action in Hrodna
Yan Roma, reporter of the Comrade newspaper, was detained during the protest action carried out by parishioners of the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Compassion in Hrodna. The action was carried out near the building of the municipal authorities. The police also tried to detain a famous reporter and activist of the Union of Poles Adrzej Paczobut. “they pulled me aside, but people managed to defend me”, -- he says. “There were many policemen, they filmed everything with a video-camera”. The police released Yan Roman in about half an hour.
In the morning about 100 Catholic believers headed by priest Aledxander Shemet came to Hrodna executive committee. They demand from the authorities to give them permission to build a church. They want to receive an official permission by December 1. Otherwise, the believers intend to start a hunger-strike.
In 1997, when t5he parish was registered, a plot of land was allotted for building a church. However, the authorities failed to give official permission to start construction works. “The parishioners addressed the authorities many times, they wrote letters, complains, but didn’t see any result, -- A. Paczobut says, -- That’s why now they decided to come to the city authorities and express their protest”. The parish is located in a very populated part of the city and has about 5,000 members. At present services are held in a chapel which can hold only 100 people.
Head of Hrodna authorities Uladzimir Sauchanka received the protesters and priest Shemet in his office and reassured them they would get the permission.