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Belarusian Activists Arrested After 'Noodle Protest'

The headquarters of Belarusian State TV and Radio Company in Minsk.
The headquarters of Belarusian State TV and Radio Company in Minsk.
MINSK -- Two activists of the Belarusian National Bolshevik Party have been arrested in Minsk and charged with hooliganism over an incident to highlight perceived bias by the state broadcaster, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Yauhen Kontush and Uladzislau Lobau, who are members of the NBP's organizational committee, were taken on December 6 by police to Minsk's Pershamay district police station.

The two activists dumped a bucket of boiled noodles on the entrance of the Belarusian Television and Radio Company in Minsk on December 3 and passed out leaflets calling on journalists at the company to give "unbiased, true, and timely information to Belarusian society."

Another member of the organizational committee, Dzmitry Sinyak, told RFE/RL that the action was symbolic in that among former Soviet states, noodles are a symbol of lying deriving from the Russian phrase "to hang noodles on someone's ears," which means to tell a lie.

"We just wanted to show the current state of our country's state media outlets," Sinyak said. "They are very biased and give one-sided information without any alternative viewpoints."

Lobau is under 18 and therefore has a right to decline to answer any questions asked by police if his parents are not with him.

Lobau's stepfather, Yury Yakubouski, told RFE/RL that Lobau's mother is currently away from Minsk and -- because he has never officially registered his marriage to the mother -- he could not officially be present during any possible interrogation. Lobau was therefore released without being questioned, Yakubouski said.

But Lobau was officially charged with hooliganism and his case has been sent to the juvenile delinquency department in Minsk's Moscow district.

Meanwhile, Kontush was held in the Pershamay district police for more than seven hours and officially charged with hooliganism. Kontush will be summoned to court regarding his case at a future date.

Sinyak told RFE/RL that the National Bolshevik Party has tried to register itself with Belarus's Justice Ministry five times in the last several years but all of its applications have been rejected.

"We still have our unregistered party's organizational committee and we will keep trying to get officially registered in the future," he told RFE/RL.

Read more in Belarusian here

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