An estimated 50,000 people participated in an unauthorized mass demonstration in Minsk April 26 to protest President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s policy of seeking a merger of Belarus with Russia. Slogans upheld Belarus independence and denounced Lukashenko’s authoritarian tendencies. Police attacked the demonstrators with batons and arrested an estimated 200. The Belarus Popular Front had called the rally and its leaders, as well as pro-independence parliamentarians, addressed it. The rally dwarfed an official one called by Lukashenko the same day to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The Popular Front has called a follow-up rally for May 1. (Western agencies, April 26-28)
Strains in Moldovan-Romanian Relations Acknowledged by Bucharest.