Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

Malady Front to stage Independence March "in any weather"

Malady Front will stage its Independence March in any weather, Mikalay Dzemidzenka, an activist of the opposition youth organization, said at a news conference in Minsk on Wednesday.

The demonstration, which Malady Front calls the Independence March, is timed to coincide with the 14th anniversary of the 1995 referendum called by Alyaksandr Lukashenka, which restored the countrys Soviet-era state emblems and granted the status of state language to Russian.

The motto of the march is topical, Mr. Dzemidzenka said. "We believe that Belarus independence is still under threat and the threat is imminent as never before", he said. "The Belarusian authorities have been showing for many years that they are ready to trade in the countrys independence". Mr. Dzemidzenka said that Malady Fronts partners in Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Britain had welcomed the plans to stage the march. He noted that demonstrations would be held in front of the Belarusian embassies in the countries to protest the months-long detention of three opponents of the government, Mikalay Awtukhovich, Yury Lyavonaw and Uladzimir Asipenka.

Politician Vyachaslaw Siwchyk said that opposition activists affiliated with the European Coalition had expressed their intention to join the march. "We do not make projections about the numbers of people who will take to the street, but the Coalitions leaders will be there", Mr. Siwchyk said.

"If Kastrychnitskaya Square where we intend to gather is blocked by police, we will use an alternative route", noted Anastasiya Palazhanka, deputy chair of Malady Front. "The march will be fair, in any case".

Malady Front has not applied to the city authorities for permission to demonstrate at Minsks central square.