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MINSK -- Dozens of elderly people picketed the office of the independent Belarusian newspaper "Narodnaya Volya" (People's Will) in Minsk today, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The picketers wore World War II medals and held placards with slogans such as "Stop Humiliating Veterans," "Shame to Those Who Falsify History," "Down with Libel," and "We Defeated the Nazis, Now We Will Defeat Liars!"

The newspaper's deputy chief editor, Maryna Eismant, told RFE/RL that several demonstrators entered the office and demanded a meeting with chief editor Yosif Syaredzich.

Eismant said Syaredzich was not in the office and the demonstrators were rude and aggressive. "It is impossible to talk to them," she said.

Eismant also explained that the protest was likely sparked by stories on World War II posted recently on the paper's website. The author of those reports, Illya Kopyl, reminisces about his boyhood in Nazi-occupied Belarus in the 1940s, and depicts the German soldiers as regular humans, not as the stereotyped enemies seen in Soviet-era propaganda.

The veterans' rally was sanctioned by Minsk authorities.
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