Belarus police raid home of anti-nuclear protestor
Minsk - Belarusian police on Wednesday raided the home of an anti-nuclear activist protesting government plans to build an atomic power plant nearby.
Uniformed and plain-clothes police entered the residence of Nikolia Ulesevich, in the outlying Ostrovensky district of Grodno province.
Ulasevich in recent months had led a campaign to prevent the construction of a nuclear power station in the Ostrovensky district, citing environmental and health concerns.
The Ostrovensky nuclear power plant is a top priority for Belarus' authoritarian leader Aleksander Lukashenko, who has said Belarus must generate its own energy and become independent of expensive Russian imports.
Police took photographs of office equipment within Ulasevich's home and conducted a search.
Ulasevich in a recent editorial in the regional Ostrovensky Vestnik newspaper criticised Lukashenko's plan, citing seismic activity in the region making a nuclear station unsafe, and called for a national referendum on the proposed station.
"I am absolutely convinced it (the Ostrovensky nuclear power plant) is not just a mistake, but a criminal idea which will bring massive damage to our society," Ulasevich wrote in part.
The Lukashenko regime controls most media in the former republic control by mandating obligatory registration, and not registering news sources critical of the government. Belarusian law requires newspapers to register only if the paper publishes 300 or more issues a print run.
The Ostrovensky Vestnik, published from Ulasevich's home with a circulation of 299 issues a print run, and is one of Belarus' few independent newspapers.
The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power accident polluted more than a quarter of modern Belarus' territory, making the country the world's most badly hit by an atomic energy failure. (dpa)