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Midnight blast in Minsk brings more than 50 victims

2008 2008-07-04T19:45:17+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

At least 50 people have been injured in Belarus after a bomb exploded during a concert in the capital, Minsk. The event was taking place in the centre of the city to mark the official Independence Day (former day of the country’s liberation from Nazi troops). President Alexander Lukashenka, whose rule has been denounced as autocratic by the US and the European Union, was attending the concert.

Later the police found an unexploded device in Minsk, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted the interior ministry as saying. There is no clear motive for the attack, but police say it may have been an act of ‘hooliganism’. The explosion happened just after midnight local time (2100 GMT), as thousands of people were gathered for a concert at a war memorial in the capital.

Dzmitry Kudziakou, 32, said he felt a strong shockwave and saw smoke. ‘People started crying. Some fell on me and there was a lot of blood,’ he told the Associated Press news agency.

Screws and bolts have been found at the scene, leading officials to speculate that the device was a home-made bomb.

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