Chornobyl cleanup workers stop protests in Donetsk

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Dec. 12, 2011, 2:30 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukrainian veterans of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster cleanup, also known as liquidators, carry a mock coffin on November 29, 2011 during the symbolic burial of their peer Gennady Konoplyov during a protest in the eastern Ukrainian industrial city of Donetsk. Konoplyov died on November 27, 2011 shortly after police officers forcibly removed a tent camp set up by liquidators in Donetsk to protest cuts in their benefits.

The rally of Chornobyl cleanup workers in Donetsk has stopped, an activist of the regional organization Chornobyl Unity Volodymyr Sumarokov has said. "Today, we decided to suspend the protests, although our demands haven't been fully met, but we're stopping the action," he said.

At the moment, all of the protesters' tents have been removed from the square in front of the regional office of the Pension Fund.

At a briefing on Monday head of Donetsk Regional State Administration Andriy Shyshatsky said that the rally was stopped at the initiative of Chornobyl cleanup participants.

"At the request of the leaders and organizers from among Chornobyl cleanup workers the rally was stopped. They said they wanted the word - the guarantees - of the governor," he said.

According to him, guarantees were given. Around Hr 1 million will be assigned for the payment of social benefits to Chornobyl cleanup participants from the budgets of various levels: Hr 0.5 million will be allocated from the regional budget, and about Hr 0.5 million from the municipal and district budgets, Shyshatsky said.

An order from regional governor is needed to provide the money from the regional budget.

"I have prepared such an order, the money will be allocated from the local budget to the tune of Hr 0.5 million," he said.

According to him, some two hundred or more Chornobyl cleanup veterans will receive this one-time assistance.

In addition, non-budgetary funds will be used, the governor said without specifying their sources.
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