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Masked Assailants Beat Belarusian Activist

HOMEL, Belarus -- A leading opposition activist in eastern Belarus says he was attacked and beaten by masked men near his apartment block, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Vital Pratasevich, who has taken part in many silent protests by the campaign Revolution via Social Networks, said he was assaulted by several unknown attackers in Homel on the evening of October 18.

Pratasevich told RFE/RL that a car stopped alongside him as he was nearing his home, and several masked men got out of the car and started beating him.

Pratasevich had to seek medical assistance.

Last month, Pratasevich was approached by two men while distributing leaflets calling on people to take part in an opposition People's Assembly gathering.

They warned him that he risks "serious consequences" if he continues to call on people "to revolt."

Silent protests, where participants do not shout any slogans, have become popular in Belarus as people angry at the crackdown on opposition supporters or the country's economic crisis seek ways to avoid demonstrations being broken up by police.

Read more in Belarusian here