Police arrest some 30 people during crackdown on opposition demonstration in Minsk
8 мая 2009, 12:11
Some 30 people were arrested as riot police cracked down on an opposition demonstration in downtown Minsk on May 7. About 150 activists gathered at Kastrychnitskaya Square at 6 p.m. to mark 10 years since the disappearance of former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka.
They formed a line along Independence Avenue, Minsk’s main thoroughfare, chanting, "Long Live Belarus!", "Freedom!" and "Freedom to Political Prisoners!" and displaying images of General Zakharanka and Mikalay Awtukhovich, one of three jailed opponents of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government whose prosecution is widely believed to be politically motivated.
Dozens of participants were bundled into police vehicles when the crowd started dispersing. A few more opposition activists had been picked up by police ahead of the unauthorized demonstration.
All of the arrested activists were taken to the Tsentralny district police department, where they were told to sign papers warning them of punishment for participation in unauthorized demonstrations, Anastasiya Palazhanka, deputy chair of the Malady Front youth group, told BelaPAN.
Some of the protesters were fingerprinted. All of the arrested people were released later in the day and none was said to be charged.
A report posted on http://www.charter97.org said with reference to eyewitnesses that many of the arrested protesters, including women, were beaten up by police in the vehicles on their way to the police office and inside the office.