a bleak situation
a bleak situation
From Gazeta.ru: (I also posted this on the updated edition of my Russian News post from yesterday)
The rebels have issued an ultimatum to the Russian authorities. According to the Gazeta.Ru correspondent reporting from the site, through the hostages the rebels contacted the nearby crisis headquarters and said that by Saturday morning the authorities are to fulfill the following three conditions: firstly, an anti-war rally must be held near the theatre building, secondly, a similar protest must be held on Red Square, and, most importantly, federal troops must leave Chechnya. Should any of those demands be ignored, the rebels have threatened to start killing their hostages.
Some 30 relatives have already held a rally not far from the theatre. However, they fear that the terrorists might not have seen them, because police stopped them from moving closer to the building. The protesters even attempted to approach the building from the rear, and called on TV channels to broadcast the action.
According to various reports, between 50 and 100 people gathered for the rally. They held up hand-written banners and posters reading: ''No to the war in Chechnya'', ''Down with the Russian Army'', and ''Stop the war in Chechnya''. The protestors looked despondent and many women cried.
My heart is breaking for those inside the theater, and for their relatives. The rebels are not taking food that has been offered for the hostages. Instead, the captive people are existing on water and chocolate.
At around 0300 on Friday a group of NTV reporters and a cameraman entered the building that has transfixed the entire country. The rebel leader Movsar Barayev granted reporters a short interview. He confirmed that his gunmen were anticipating a storming of the building and that they were ready for such a development.
**********However, neither Barayev’s interview, nor the words of the six female hostages with whom the terrorists allowed reporters to converse, went on air. The viewers could see the footage but could not hear their voices. Barayev’s words were related by the news presenter. The Ekho Moskvy radio station has learnt that the Press Ministry banned NTV from broadcasting Barayev’s voice. Under Russia’s media laws it is prohibited to give terrorists a platform to voice their views.
The hostages, who use their mobile phones to keep in touch with the press and relatives, said they were very deeply concerned over that ban.
There has to be some kind of medium between letting the media treat terrorists like talk show guests and completely banning them from the media. If, in some cases, it may help some hostages go free, the government should do what's right and rescind the ban, with condidtions.
In this case, I have a bad feeling that the government is going to do the only thing they feel they can; storm the building or blow it up, counting the hostages as casualties of war.
I can't see a good ending ahead.