Over 500 detained in Sunday protests across Belarus Updated
Over five hundred protesters were detained yesterday in various cities of Belarus, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Viasna knows the names of 436 persons who attended another event in a series of weekly demonstrations.
377 protesters were detained in Minsk, including ahead of the demonstration. Excessive force was reportedly used by riot police. The families of some detainees say several protesters were beaten after arrest.
Numerous armed military personnel and armoured vehicles were deployed in Minsk.
In Brest and Minsk, riot gear and weapons were used against the demonstrators. A water cannon dispersed a crowd of protesters in Brest. The police justified its use by alleged “threat to road safety,” while in reality the people danced and sang songs.
Several media outlets say stun grenades were used to attack demonstrators in Minsk’s district of Drazdy, which the Interior Ministry denies.
There was also at least one incident when an unidentified man, who is believed to be an officer of the Interior Ministry, fired a warning shot into the air.
Two photojournalists were detained in a Minsk pub after the protest. They are expected to face “illegal protesting” charges, according to the police.
UPD: According to latest information from the Interior Ministry, 774 people were detained in yesterday's protests across Belarus, including over 500 in Minsk. 544 protesters remained in custody to await charges and trials.