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LERMONTOV, February 22 (Itar-Tass) — The former candidates for the Town Council in Lermontov, Stavropol Territory, who announced a hungerstrike in a protest against the actions of the local election commission are actively cooperating with the investigators. A representative of the Investigative Committee who they would present with the fact of criminally punishable actions by the election commission visited them on Wednesday. "We're ready to present such facts to the investigators," one of the participants in the protest action, former Town Council deputy Valery Belousov said.
Eight hungerstrikers spent Wednesday night sitting on mattresses at the administration building. In the afternoon, part of the protesters left the building to attend a court hearing, which is reviewing their case. In all, 14 town residents are involved in the protest action. The hunger strikers only drink water, and do not take any food. "The eldest of them is 74 years old, but despite his age, Viktor Kapustin is vigorous and energetic," Belousov said.
On February 21, seven former Town Council candidates announced indefinite hunger strike to protest the violations of law by local officials. In a statement forwarded to all government bodies, they said it was a forced measure of last resort, because they "lost hope and faith in justice, and saw that the law and citizen's constitutional rights are nothing more than words in our town."
The protest followed the actions by the territorial election commission, which denied registration to some 20 candidates under what the protesters called "far-fetched pretexts." The protesters demand that the election of the 5th Town Council, scheduled for March 4, be cancelled.