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Ulyanovsk rally dispersed after statement by airport administration - police

April 11, 2012, 17:10 UTC+3

The police broke up the tent camp near the Ulyanovsk-Vostochny airport after the statement by the airport administration

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ULYANOVSK, April 11 (Itar-Tass) — The police broke up the tent camp near the Ulyanovsk-Vostochny airport after the statement by the airport administration, the press service of regional police told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"The statement indicated that the tent camp and the presence of citizens in the territory of the airport obstructed the transportation of aircraft, delivery of fuel and lubricants and other works carried out at the airport in normal mode. The presence in the zone poses a real threat to life and health," the administration said as it requested the police to free the territory from citizens.

Also, police claimed they had received two bomb scare calls, which explained their request to the protesters to move back to safer distance.

On April 7, some 800 persons rallied in Ulyanovsk against the plans to set up a NATO transit point in the region. The protesters marched along the town's central streets, and gathered in a square under the slogan "No to NATO!"

The protest continued as a tent picket, with protesters putting up five tents near the Ulyanovsk-Vostochny airport through which the authorities intend to handle the transit of NATO cargoes.

Earlier, Ulyanovsk region governor Sergei Morozov said in an address to the residents of the province that there would be neither a NATO military base nor any other NATO facility in Ulyanovsk.

The transit centre will not accommodate NATO military or civilians. Only non-military cargoes will be shipped. The transportation will be handled by planes of the Russian Volga-Dnepr and Polyot airlines with Russian crews. No other addition facilities will be built, the governor assured.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the issue does not concern a NATO base, but a "lift-up floor" for air transit.

"There is nothing unusual happening there," nothing that would not conform to Russian interests, he told lawmakers as he was fielding questions at the State Duma after his annual report on the government's work.

Earlier, a decision was made to "support the transit for separate countries - the United States, Germany and France. As for NATO, if we permit transit for a single NATO country, why should there be a problem for NATO itself?" he said.

"We have to help them resolve the problem of stabilization the situation in Afghanistan. Or we'll have to do it ourselves. We have to be very pragmatic in determining what is advantageous to us and whether or not it meets our national interests," the prime minister said.

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