Support The Moscow Times!

Belarus Detains 300 Protesters and Journalists Amid Ongoing Protests

Belarusians have taken to the streets every day since the country's disputed Aug. 9 vote. Dmitri Lovetsky / AP / TASS

Authorities in Belarus detained at least 260 protesters and 17 journalists Thursday evening, human rights activists said as opposition rallies continued more than two weeks after the country's disputed election.

Belarusians have taken to the streets every day since the Aug. 9 vote in which President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory. The days immediately following the vote saw a violent police crackdown with hundreds of demonstrators injured.

Belarus’ Vesna human rights group listed at least 263 names on its website of protesters who were detained on Thursday while taking part in demonstrations in central Minsk.

A separate list names 17 journalists, including four from international news agencies Reuters and The Associated Press, who had planned to cover the scheduled protests. AFP reported that they were taken to a police station for “identity checks.”

“They began releasing the journalists after 9 p.m. after forcing them to delete photos on their phones and cameras. Those who refuse are being kept at the station,” Vesna said.

BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg said in a tweet that he and his crew were also detained for “document checks” Thursday evening.

“A clear attempt to interfere with coverage of events in Belarus,” Rosenberg tweeted.

The arrests came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had formed a reserve group of law enforcement officers ready to be deployed in Belarus if “the situation gets out of control.”

Following Putin's statement, NATO urged Russia to stay out of the crisis, while Belarus’ western neighbor Poland said Russian intervention would breach international law.

The Belarusian opposition’s coordination council, which was created to oversee the peaceful transition of power to opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, said it was unacceptable to form military units outside Belarus for use inside the country.

“Previously, the current president has repeatedly stated that foreign interference in Belarusian affairs was unacceptable,” it said in a statement. 

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more