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Opposition Defense Spells Trouble For Minsk Teacher

MINSK -- An English teacher in Minsk who was fired for politically charged remarks she made in class last week was rehired by her employer, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

The private "SOL Minsk" education center dismissed Mariana Gruzdilovich on March 25 after she defended demonstrators from a student's characterization of them as "dumb monsters of the opposition [who] gather in the streets and shout out some stupid things."

The exchange came after a class discussion began about Freedom Day, which was marked by opposition activists in Belarus on March 25.

Gruzdilovich reportedly responded that she had attended such gatherings for many years and saw many good and intelligent people among the demonstrators.

She was fired the following day.

Gruzdilovich told RFE/RL that the female student told her parents of the conversation, and that the girl's father was a police colonel who then pressured the education center into firing Gruzdilovich.

SOL Minsk rehired her on March 31.