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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement


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Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman
March 13, 2000

Belarus: Upcoming Opposition Demonstrations

The Belarusian democratic opposition intends to stage a series of peaceful mass demonstrations this spring beginning with a second Freedom March on March 15. Other rallies will mark the anniversary of the Belarusian National Republic on March 25, the anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster on April 26, and the traditional European Labor Day on May 1.

The United States strongly urges the Belarusian authorities to live up to their international commitments to respect the freedom of expression and assembly by not harassing or repressing these rallies. The response of the Belarusian authorities to these demonstrations will be an essential indication of their intentions toward meaningful dialogue with the opposition as well as toward elections. A repetition of the regime's brutal and unnecessary crackdown on the October 17 Freedom March will only deepen the current political crisis in Belarus and have serious negative consequences for relations with the Euro-Atlantic community of democracies.

[end of document]

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