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Belarus Polish Activist Detained As Offices Seized

Andrzej Poczobut (file photo)

Andrzej Poczobut (file photo)

MINSK -- An activist from the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB) has been detained by Minsk police, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Journalist Andrzej Poczobut was driving to the town of Ivyanets -- where police were taking control of the ZPB's offices -- on February 8 when his car was stopped by the police near Skidal.

Poczobut told RFE/RL earlier today that the ZPB offices in Ivyanets were visited by the police and that all staff were asked to vacate the building.

The ZPB, which is led by Andzelika Borys, has been unsuccessfully trying to gain registration in Belarus for many years.

But Belarusian officials have registered a pro-government alternative called the Union of Belarusian Poles. It is led by Stanislaw Semaczko, who recently urged officials in Ivyanets to confiscate the ZPB's building and give it to his organization.

Semaczko's group is loyal to the government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

About 4 percent of Belarus's 9.7 million people are ethnic Poles.