A veteran of the clean-up operation following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster wearing a placard that reads, "Warning! radioactive", attends a rally in front of the government building, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. The veterans were demanding the right to keep the social benefits given to them after the clean-up.
Chornobyl cleanup workers are planning to hold large-scale protests this autumn to defend their rights, the press service of the Ukrainian Nastup Committee has reported.
On Tuesday, Kyiv hosted the first congress of Chornobyl cleanup workers, which was initiated by a number of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations, in particular, Chornobyl-86, Prypiat, and the Coordinating Council. In total, the congress was attended by about 300 delegates from 14 regions.
The congress participants approved a number of demands regarding the size of the minimum pension for disabled people of the first, second and third groups.
Chairman of Chornobyl 86 Anatoliy Koliadin said that "today, cleanup workers have to individually defend their right to a decent life, because nobody will help them here."
Chairman of Nastup Ruslan Sekela offered the support of his organization during protests by Chornobyl cleanup workers.
"Only joint, open-ended protests can influence the government, and only this way will we manage to defend our own rights. One-day rallies will produce no results. The government is now only afraid of force, so we should show our strength and power together," he said.
Parliamentary elections in Ukraine are to be held on October 28, 2012.