Civil activists denied congress venue by authorities in Homel

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Initially, the director of the Children and Youth Palace agreed to offer a venue for the congress of region's civil organizations. But, having consulted with the official in charge of ideology, he took his promise back.

Uladzimir Katsora, a deputy chairman of the Legal Initiative non-governmental group, says: "The congress is scheduled to take place on February 21. I found out that on that day the venue would be available at the regional children and youth palace. We had an agreement with the director".

In order to get rental permission for the congress, Uladzimir Katsora filed a request with Piotr Kirychenka, a deputy city council chairman in charge of ideology.

Katsora: "Several days later, the director of the youth center called me on the phone. He said he was not in position to offer us a venue, but could justify his refusal, saying it was not a conversation for the phone".

Recently, Katsora received a written respond to his application, which was signed by Marina Bondar, the head of the region's education department. The letter said that the venues at the youth center were occupied "for scheduled events" on February 21.

The regional congress in Homel has to take place ahead of the national Assembly of NGOs scheduled for March 6-7 in Minsk.
Uladzimir Katsora says the congress in Homel will be held in private premises.

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