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Rare nuclear protest staged

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- About 2,500 people, including women and their children, staged a rare anti-nuclear demonstration in the northwestern Yugoslavian town of Ljubljana, it was reported today.

The peaceful protest Thursday in Ljubljana was the first of several demonstrations planned nationwide to mark Sunday's first anniversary of the explosion at the Chernobyl power plant in the Soviet Union, the world's worst nuclear disaster.

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Protests against all nuclear programs, including those for peaceful purposes, are scheduled for Sunday and Monday in Zagreb in Western Yugoslavia and in the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade, the news reports said.

Thusday's demonstration in Ljubljana, the capital of the constituent republic of Slovenia, was arranged by the Slovenian Socialist Youth Organization and University Students Organization to collect signatures in support of a proposed referendum protesting danger from nuclear power plants.

Yugoslavia has one nuclear power plant, at Krsko, 62 miles east of Ljubljana.

After the Chernobyl incident, youth groups advocated a moratorium on building nuclear power plants. The Yugoslav government, according to unofficial reports, plans to build about eight nuclear power plants by the year 2000.

On April 26, 1986, the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, 80 miles north of Kiev, was damaged but the Soviet Union did not acknowledge the world's worst nuclear accident until two days later.

Soviet officials said 31 people died and hundreds were hospitalized in the catastrophe.

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