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Belarusian Opposition Parties' Offices Searched


Yury Istomin

Yury Istomin

HRODNA, Belarus -- Police in the western Belarusian city of Hrodna today searched the offices of the opposition United Civic Party (AHP) and Belarusian Popular Front (BNF), RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

AHP Hrodna Oblast Chairman Yury Istomin told RFE/RL police were searching the party's offices and that both he and AHP Hrodna branch leader Vadzim Saranchukou were unable to talk.

BNF Hrodna branch leader Syarhey Malchyk told RFE/RL the raid surprised him. He added that the BNF Council had met on January 11 to discuss the aftermath of the disputed presidential election held in Belarus on December 19.

Malchyk said today's search might be connected with that meeting.

Several opposition presidential candidates and hundreds of their supporters were arrested in Belarus on December 19-20 after they protested the results of the election, which they say was rigged.

Incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka was announced as the runaway winner of the vote, which international election monitors said was flawed.

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