Accessibility links

Dozens Held In Belarus Over Protest

Belarusian police have detained dozens of people who took part in a candle-lit protest to mark the first anniversary of the crackdown on mass protests against President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's reelection.

Police in Minsk said 32 people faced court hearings on charges such as taking part in illegal protests and hooliganism.

Some 700 people, including six presidential candidates, were detained when tens of thousands of people rallied in December 2010 to protest Lukashenka's reelection in a fraud-tainted vote.

Separately, the women's rights group Femen from Ukraine says three of its activists who staged a topless protest in Minsk were detained by the Belarusian KGB, taken to a forest, and abused and threatened.

On December 18, the United States and the European Union jointly called on Belarus to release all political prisoners and voiced concern over deteriorating rights conditions in the year since the December 2010 crackdown.