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Belarus: Reporters' Group Protests Press Restrictions

Washington, 19 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - The Committee to Protect Journalists is protesting what it says are attacks on domestic and foreign media in Belarus by the government of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The New York-based committee says the "gagging" of the state-controlled media and the attacks on local and foreign press outlets are "a gross violation of international standards," for a free press.

Lukashenka is locked in a struggle with parliament over a referendum he plans to hold this Sunday that would increase his powers. At least ten people were reported injured Sunday in Minsk when police used clubs and teargas on anti-Lukashenka demonstrators.

The Committee to Protect Journalists cited harassment of opposition newspapers, threats against Russian reporters and the seizure of copies of an opposition newspaper as unlawful practices. It said these actions "are incomprehensible in a country aspiring to join the Council of Europe."