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Twenty Belarusians Charged With Organizing Illegal Armed Group

Protesters are detained at a demonstration in front of KGB headquarters in Minsk "to support arrested patriots" on March 31.

MINSK -- State media in Belarus report that 20 Belarusian citizens have been charged with organizing an illegal armed group.

The reports said the 20 suspects were among a group of 35 people who were accused of plotting disorder in Belarus amid discontent over an unpopular tax on the unemployed.

Belarusian police arrested members of the White Legion and Patriot activist groups, along with members of the opposition movement Malady Front (Youth Front), in March.

Their arrests came after President Alyaksandr Lukashenka announced that "armed militants" had been apprehended on suspicion of planning "armed provocations" nationwide.

Lukashenka's claim came amid a series of angry mass demonstrations across the country against the tax on unemployed citizens.

With reporting by Sovetskaya Belorussia
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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.