Victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster started a protest march today

Victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster have started today a protest march from Tula (Central Russia) to Moscow, NTV television reports, quoting Vladimir Naumov, the chairman of the regional organisation "Russian Union of Chernobyl". Representatives from the organisations of Chernobyl disabled people of the Riazan and Lipezk districts of Russia are taking part in the protest. The march is a part of a large-scale action against a draft of amendments into a law on "a social protection of Chernobyl victims". This draft was passed by Russia's State Duma in the second reading on October 19 this year. The protesters believe this bill violates their constitutional rights. Chernobyl liquidators say the amendments will delay the payment of benefits, which the government is going to hand over to local budgets. The protesters are going on termless hunger-strike on October 26. The strikers will set up a camp in front of the building of the local administration in Tula. One of participants of a previous three-month hunger-strike died on October 20 in Shakhtinsk. More than two million people receive state benefits as a result of the world's worst nuclear accident in 1986