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Extreme Security, Police Check-Ups And New Detentions. Belarus Marks Freedom Day

On 25 March Belarus marks Freedom day (Dzień Voli – Belarusian), an unofficial holiday that commemorates the creation on that date in 1918 of the Belarusian People’s Republic (BPR).

The date is usually associated with rallies and protests held by people who are in opposition to the current Belarusian government under Alexander Lukashenko.

This year opposition rallies were sanctioned by authorities in Brest, Gomel and Grodno. The actions in Brest were prohibited.

Freedom day in Minsk. All videos

Please, note, there might be broadcast break-ups due to technical reasons

In Minsk authorities suggested the rally should be held at a different time and place from those asked by opposition leaders, so the latter withdrew the appeal. So any protest action in would be considered unauthorized, Minsk mayor’s office said.

Early this morning drivers heading in the direction of Minks were reporting numerous check-ups by road police.

In particular, drivers said traffic police were stopping people at M1, M4 and M5 motorways. Law enforcement officers had automatic rifles.

Polive have not officially commented on the increased secutiry on roads and streets.

In Minsk today

The wave of detentions continued ahead of Freedom Day.

At night Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu was detained in a train Warsaw-Minsk. The politician was heading back to Belarus after talks with Polish government officials.

Also on 24 March over ten people were detained in Minsk at the Green Party office. They were hosting a fund-raising for the previously detained activists and their families when police came. Four  foreign journalists (including journalists of Ukrainian Novoe Vremya and France 24), “green” activists and ordinary citizens were detained.

The journalists were released later, while the others were brought to court the next day.

According to the information available, 12 people were sentenced to administrative arrest for a period of 12 to 15 days.

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Law enforcement officers in Minsk on Saturday, 25 March

The centre of Minsk is full police vehicles and officers, the media report on Satuday.

UPD:

14.00: The media report numeour detentions of people in the centre of Minsk. There are problems with the Internet. Many accredited journalists are being detained as well.

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15.00:

The column of protesters is moving down to Kastryčnickaja Square. The main avenue is closed for traffic.

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The media report numerous detentions, including of accredited Belarusian and foreign journalists, human rights defenders and international observers.

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Police are blocking the Victory Square.

15:36:
The protest ended, TUT.BY reports.
The column was stopped near the Victory Square and didn’t manage to reach Kastryčnickaja Square. Part of protesters were dispersed, others were detained.
Eyewitnesses report that arrests around the Victory Square continue.

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See also: Police In Belarus Detains Over 100 People Linked To ‘Parasite Tax’ Marched In Several Days

Protests Against ‘Parasite Tax’ In Belarus End With Mass Arrests (Photos, Video)