Up to 15,000 supporters of Belarus independence and of its constitution marched through central Minsk in an All Souls procession which ended with a mourning rally at the Kuropaty mass graves on the capital’s outskirts, where the Soviet NKVD executed thousands of Belarusans. Prominent parliamentarians attended, and clergymen of all denominations said prayers. The ceremony was an affirmation of ecumenism that contrasted with President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s call in a speech the same day to make the Orthodox Church — subordinate to the Moscow Patriarch — the state church of Belarus. Lukashenko for his part laid flowers at the graves of Red Army soldiers and former Communist leaders of the Belarus SSR.
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