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Activists On Trial In Belarus For Freedom Day Demonstration

The activists carried the 1918 Belarusian flag, which is not recognized by authorities.
VITEBSK, Belarus -- Five activists in the Belarusian city of Vitebsk are going on trial on March 26 on charges of participating in unsanctioned protests, RFE/RL's Belarusian Service reports.

Syarhey Kavalenka, Ihar Bazarav, Valery Alyaksandrav, Leanid Avtukhov, and Alyaksandr Kuznyatsov took part in a demonstration marking Freedom Day on March 25 in Vitebsk's Liberty Square, where about 100 activists gathered.

The demonstrators carried the red and white flag of the Belarusian People's Republic of 1918, a symbol which is not recognized by the Belarusian authorities. The current official flag of the country is a modification of the 1951 flag introduced while Belarus was a Soviet republic.

Activists in Vitebsk told RFE/RL's Belarusian service that they are going to attend the trial to express their solidarity with the defendants.