Former Chernobyl crews rush parliament

Nov. 1, 2011 at 10:09 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Former clean-up workers for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, angered about plans to cut benefits, Tuesday stormed the Ukrainian Parliament, witnesses said.

Shouting "Shame" before they were blocked from entering the building, the approximately 1,000 former disaster clean-up crew members demanded the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Tigipko, RIA Novosti reported.

The Ukrainian Parliament was to consider a bill Tuesday that would cancel social benefits for about 10 million citizens, including those involved in the clean-up operation after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The bill passed its first reading in September.

Outside, the protesters called on lawmakers to leave the building for direct talks and demanded lawmakers agree to pass amendments that would prevent any infringement on the interests of former Chernobyl rescuers and other people's interests.

Several opposition members of Parliament left the building to address the protesters, telling them that the bill's second reading was postponed, RIA Novosti said.

"If they don't retract the bill, we will demand that the Parliament be dissolved," one of the protesters said.

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