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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 January, 2005, 13:49 GMT
Beslan parents lift road blockade
Relatives hold pictures of their dead, at the Beslan road protest
Relatives say officials' negligence allowed the siege to happen
Relatives of people killed in last year's Russian school siege have halted their blockade of a major highway after promises of talks with a Kremlin chief.

About 100 people blocked the road into Beslan for three days, angry that those they hold accountable had not resigned.

The stand-off ended when protesters were told that Dimitry Kozak, the Russian envoy on the North Caucasus, would hold talks in Beslan on Tuesday.

At least 330 people died as the school siege ended in carnage last September.

Relatives of the dead - many of whom were children - removed a tent they had pitched across the road in Beslan, forcing all traffic to a halt.

But they are still demanding resignations in the North Ossetian government, particularly that of President Alexander Dzasokhov, and warn the protest could be reinstated.

The demonstrators say corrupt and inefficient authorities allowed the gangs of pro-Chechen gunmen to pass through police checkpoints and seize Beslan's school along with 1,000 hostages at the start of term.

Radical Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the hostage-taking, which came after several weeks of attacks, including near-simultaneous bombings of two passenger planes.

Some protesters are also calling for an independent international investigation into the siege, as they are dissatisfied with the progress of the official Russian inquiry.


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