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A protester chained himself to a truck on February 24.

Dozens of activists protested for a fifth day against the construction of a business center next to a protected memorial area in Belarus where at least 30,000 people were killed and buried by Soviet authorities in the 1930s and 1940s.

Construction works that started on February 16 continued on February 24 despite the protest at the Kurapaty preserve on the outskirts of the capital, Minsk.

Protesters are demanding an immediate halt of the construction works, which they say desecrate the memory of thousands of victims of the Soviet state under dictator Josef Stalin.

Leaders of opposition parties and movements have been participating in the protest.

The protesters have set up tents at the site in order to stay around the clock.

During the night on February 22, at least 15 masked men with wooden bats attacked the protesters' camp, injuring one activist.

Activists say they suspect Minsk city authorities were behind the attack.

Zhanbolat Mamai

ALMATY -- A Kazakh blogger has been sent to jail for 15 days after he tried to report on a protest against the incarceration of an independent journalist.

Blogger Askhat Bersalimov's lawyer, Zhanar Balghabaeva, told RFE/RL that her client was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest late on February 23.

Bersalimov was detained hours earlier outside the headquarters of the National Security Committee in Almaty, the Central Asian country's biggest city, where he was trying to report on a man who was calling for the release of journalist Zhanbolat Mamai.

Police quickly and forcibly took protester Erlan Qaliev away and detained Bersalimov.

Bersalimov was later found guilty of organizing of an illegal public gathering -- a charge he denied, saying that he was seeking to cover Qaliev's protests as a journalist and blogger.

Mamai, acting editor of The Sayasi Qalam-Tribuna (The Political Pen-Tribune), was detained on February 10 and later charged with laundering money.

Mamai says the case against him is politically motivated.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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