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Romanian yogis hit by investigation

Associated Press, UK
June 26, 2004
www.guardian.co.uk

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday June 26, 2004

Romanian yoga practitioners launched protests across the country yesterday, accusing authorities of damaging their reputations and violating their rights by launching criminal investigations against members of their group.

Carrying banners which read “Human rights severely violated in Romania,” dozens of members of the Movement of Spiritual Integration into the Absolute demonstrated outside the local government office in the city of Timisoara in the west of the country.

“We protest against the deeply undemocratic attitude of authorities toward Misa members and yoga practitioners,” said Dan Spatariu, a doctor in Timisoara.

The group accused the government of launching the investigations to distract from pressing domestic troubles. In recent months, authorities have confiscated books, computers and teaching materials, it said.

Dozens also protested yesterday in the Transylvanian cities of Cluj and Sfantu Gheorghe and the Black Sea port of Constanta.

Earlier this week, some 2,000 yoga practitioners protested by forming a human chain around parliament in Bucharest. The group says the government’s allegations of money laundering and distributing obscene materials are politically motivated.

The government denies violating the group’s rights, saying it was only investigating some members, not the organisation.

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