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Belarusian Activists Detained Ahead Of Planned Rally Against Integration With Russia

Paval Sevyarynets appears in court in Minsk on December 5.

MINSK -- Belarusian authorities have detained two opposition activists ahead of a planned rally in Minsk later this week against deepening integration with neighboring Russia.

Those detained on December 18 are the co-chairman of the Christian Democratic Party's founding committee, Paval Sevyarynets, and Maksim Vinyarski, a coordinator of the European Belarus civic campaign.

Sevyarynets's wife, Volha Sevyarynets, told RFE/RL that her husband called her from his mobile phone to say he had been detained by security officers.

After that, she said, his phone was switched off.

Vinyarski called RFE/RL saying that he was being detained. He was later unreachable by telephone.

Sevyarynets and Vinyarski are among the organizers of a rally scheduled for December 20 and dubbed Let's Preserve Belarusian Independence.

Similar protest actions were held in Minsk earlier this month amid increasing Russian pressure on Minsk for further integration.

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi on December 7 for talks coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the 1999 union treaty that was supposed to create a unified state.

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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    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.