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Three Belarusian Activists Detained Picketing Presidential Office

MINSK -- Police in Minsk today detained three activists from the opposition Malady Front (Young Front) movement who were picketing the presidential office, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Activists Uladzimer Yaromenak, Eduard Lobau, and Hanna Sharuba were holding placards calling on President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to step down and mockingly urging the head of the presidential office, Uladzimer Makei, to "turn in all the weapons."

That's a reference to a statement Makei made on December 11, that "some unknown groups are buying weapons and explosives to organize provocations in Minsk's central square during the presidential elections."

Police forcibly took the placards away from the activists and took them to Minsk's Lenin District police station.

Friends and relatives of the detained activists told RFE/RL that they are afraid the three may be sentenced to several days in jail. They say the authorities take such measures against activists on the eve of elections in order to prevent them organizing protests during the vote.

The presidential elections will take place on December 19.

Read in Belarusian here.