APal 12/09 1527 Krishna-Mspi NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) -- A dozen Hare Krishna devotees, mostly
APal 12/09 1527 Krishna-Mspi
NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) -- A dozen Hare Krishna devotees, mostly children,
released 25 yellow balloons this week as Mississippi joined a simultaneous
worldwide demonstration against the Soviet Union's refusal to allow 25
religious members to leave the communist country.
The balloons were released Tuesday across the street from the Natchez post
office. The worldwide protest by Hare Krishnas was timed to coincide with the
visit of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to the United States.
"We're asking for glasnost," said Chandra Sekhara. "Article 52 of the Soviet
constitution guarantees religious freedom, and that's what we're asking for.
We're doing this for our friends who are in prison for the crime of handing out
The 25 devotees were arrested while Yuri Andropov was the Soviet leader.
They are being held in prisons, labor camps and psychiatric wards, the Hare
"One girl was told vegetarianism was a type of insanity," Sekhara said,
noting that Krishna devotees don't eat meat because they believe animals have
The demonstrators danced and chanted in front of posters depicting some of
those being held. They released the yellow balloons and some red, white and
Members of the Natchez Police Department's felony crime unit sat in an
unmarked car nearby, armed with a video camcorder.
"I'm not interested in the Hare Krishnas," Police Chief Kenneth Fairly said.
"I just wanted to document anyone interfering with them and their
constitutional right to be there."
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