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More Opposition Supporters Arrested In Minsk --> Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Alyaksandr Milinkevich (right) were reportedly celebrating his candidacy when they were arrested (file photo) (RFE/RL) 17 February 2006 -- A report says about 100 opposition supporters were arrested in Belarus as they tried to join a celebration to mark the registration of their candidate for next month's presidential election.

The French news agency AFP says those detained were supporters of opposition leader Alyaksandr Milinkevich. The report could not be independently confirmed.

Earlier today, the electoral commission officially registered Milinkevich, along with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Liberal Democratic Party leader Syarhey Haydukevich, and Social Democratic Party leader Alyaksandr Kazulin for the 19 March poll.

AFP says the Milinkevich supporters were arrested on various pretexts, such as the state of their vehicles or problems with their identity papers.

Lukashenka is seeking a third term in office and is seen as the heavy favorite.

The European Union and United States have voiced concern over whether the vote will be free and fair.


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