Dozens detained as Belarus marks ‘Freedom Day’ with new protests


KYIV — Belarusian safety forces detained dozens of individuals on Thursday as protesters answered a name by opposition figures to ramp up demonstrations towards veteran President Alexander Lukashenko to stress him to resign.

The rights group Viasna-96 (Spring-96) mentioned at the least 45 individuals had been detained whereas footage circulated by native media confirmed remoted incidents of protesters being grabbed or chased down the road by police.

The authorities had moved police buses, water cannon and prisoner vans into the centre of the capital Minsk in anticipation of the protests on the nation’s unofficial “Freedom Day.”

An opposition supporter holds a large Belarus historic flag as she shouts slogans throughout a protest outdoors the European Parliament in Brussels, on Thursday. Francisco Seco / AP

Protesters, some carrying red-and-white opposition flags, marched by means of the streets whereas vehicles honked their horns in solidarity.

Lukashenko, 66, has confronted the most important problem to his practically 27-year-rule since protesters took to the streets after he was declared the winner of a presidential election

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final August which they mentioned was rigged.

He denied electoral fraud and police cracked down on the protests, which attracted lots of of hundreds of individuals earlier than giving solution to smaller marches.

Marking the anniversary of Belarus’ 1918 declaration of what was short-lived independence from Russia, exiled opposition determine Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya wrote on Twitter: “I name on all buddies of Belarus to face in solidarity with Belarusians on Freedom Day, March 25th.”

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“Take political motion. Maintain/take part in a solidarity rally in your metropolis. Write letters to political prisoners. Put up on social media,” she wrote.

Native organisers wished neighbourhood marches, flash mobs and protest symbols displayed on Thursday night, however are making ready a bigger protest on the weekend.

The federal government has mentioned it is going to retaliate towards protests.

“These are absolutely the enemies of our state …and we are going to cope with them in a short time,” mentioned Nikolai Karpenkov, Deputy Minister of Inside Affairs.

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Lukashenko has stored energy with the monetary and diplomatic backing of Russia which, based on western diplomats, sees Belarus as a buffer zone towards NATO. Belarus borders Russia, Ukraine and NATO member states Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The crackdown has precipitated a diplomatic row between Belarus and Poland that accelerated after the arrest of two Poles this week. Warsaw on Thursday threatened new sanctions in retaliation.

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