Opposition Demonstrators Beaten up by Riot Police in Minsk

Belarusian riot police has violently dispersed two peaceful opposition demonstrations in Minsk – on February, 14 and February, 16.

On Sunday the police has violently stopped a peaceful demonstration by the youth organization Malady Front dedicated to St. Valentine’s Day. The organization wanted to present the award Liubliu Bielaruś (“I love Belarus”) to people who had contributed to national revival and important social initiatives in 2009. After Hotel Crowne Plaza Minsk had unexpectedly cancelled the conference hall rent agreement, Malady Front decided to perform a ceremony near the Minsk city hall. As a result, over 20 people were arrested, some were injured. See photos by RFE/RL Belarusian Edition and Naša Niva

On February, 16 the police has beaten up a demonstration of solidarity of the Belarusian democratic opposition with the Union of Poles of Belarus. 28 people have been arrested including the well-known photographer Julija Daraškievič. See reports by RFE/RL, RFE/RL Belarusian Edition and Naša Niva.

Belarusian analysts relate the increased violence of the police’s actions with the upcoming local elections and the presidential electoral campaign.

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