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Belarusian 'Toy Protest' Inmate Goes On Hunger Strike

Belarusian opposition activist Paval Vinahradau
Belarusian opposition activist Paval Vinahradau
MINSK -- Belarusian opposition activist Paval Vinahradau, who was sentenced on February 22 to 10 days in jail for holding an unsanctioned "toy protest" in Minsk, says he is beginning a hunger strike.

Vinahradau is protesting his incarceration, saying he was just looking at toys that had been set up in a display.

On February 10, Belarusian youth activists from the Tell the Truth civic campaign brought a number of stuffed animals to Minsk's Independence Square, placed them in the snow, and set up placards.

The signs bore messages urging President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to "Free the people," asking "Where is the freedom of the press?" or declaring "Toys against lawlessness."

Police later arrived at the scene and confiscated all the toys.

Vinahradau was not arrested on the day of the protest, but was detained only on February 21, ahead of the court hearing on February 22.
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