Protesters, journalists detained across Belarus Updated
Numerous opposition activists and journalists working for independent media have been detained today before and after protests held across the country, including in Orša, Babrujsk, Kobryn and Brest.
Police in Orša detained several protesters, Belarusian Christian Democracy co-chair Pavel Seviarynets and a number of reporters who covered the demonstration, including journalists of Radio Free Europe’s Belarus service and the BelaPAN news agency. All of them were brought to the city police department.
Local observers say police officers detained a Belsat TV crew, as they were trying to interview Pavel Seviarynets.
The detentions took place after some 1,000 people demonstrated in central Orša against the infamous Presidential Decree No. 3, which introduced a tax on the unemployed.
Halina Smirnova, an activist of the United Civil Party, was detained this morning in Babrujsk, a few hours before the start of another protest that was attended by several hundred people.
Police officers in Brest detained Dzmitry Harbunou and Siarhei Piatrukhin, bloggers who were expected to provide a live stream of today’s demonstration in their YouTube account.
Two opposition activists were detained in Kobryn. Ales Mekh and Vasil Andreyuk were stopped when driving to Brest. The activists were thus prevented from joining a protest later this afternoon, which brought together around 200 people.
Another Belsat crew was detained before a similar protest held in Rahačoŭ. The reporters were soon released without charges.
Since March 3, when the government began to use harsh repression against participants of civil and social protests, including in defense of the Kurapaty memorial site in Minsk and against Presidential Decree №3 in many cities of Belarus, more than 70 people have been detained, according to our estimates. These include representatives of the political opposition, civil society activists, journalists, and ordinary protesters.