MINSK -- Police in the Belarusian capital have prevented several hundred opposition activists from holding a rally and detained at least a dozen of them.
The antigovernment rally in Minsk on March 25 was planned to mark the 101st anniversary of the day Belarusian politicians in 1918 proclaimed independence from Russia.
The Belarusian People's Republic lasted until 1919, when it was effectively taken over by Soviet Russia.
Police forces cordoned off the main square in Minsk where an unsanctioned rally was to be held on March 25.
At least a dozen protesters were detained, according to the Minsk-based human rights group Vyasna.
Many protesters were carrying the red and white flag of the 1918 republic that was also used by Belarus from 1991-95. It has become a symbol of the opposition and is banned by the government.
While most of the activists were released, at least one remained in detention.
Among those earlier detained were opposition politicians Vital Rymasheuski and Mikalay Kozlov, and musicians Lyavon Volski, Zmitser Vaytyushkevich, Paval Arakelyan, and Ihar Varashkevich, according to Vyasna.
Several thousand people gathered on March 23 in the city of Hrodna to mark the anniversary.
People gathered in a local park for the event that was approved by local authorities, singing patriotic songs and waving flags of the Belarusian People’s Republic.
Activists had used social media to organize the event after authorities in Minsk refused to allow them to hold the event there.
Known as Freedom Day, the anniversary is traditionally a day for opponents of the authoritarian government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to stage protests.
The Belarusian opposition accuses Lukashenka, who has been in office since 1994, of attempting to erase Belarusian identity and "Russifying" the former Soviet republic.
During his two decades in power, Lukashenka has systemically quashed opposition parties, independent media, and civil society groups. Outbursts of political protests have been met with violence.
Police In Belarus Block Demonstrators From Opposition Rally, Dozen Detained
Pet Patrol: Turkmen Dogcatchers Assigned To Kill 'Seven Stray Dogs A Day'2
Russia Scrambling To Compensate For Destroyed Bridges In Southern Ukraine, Satellite Imagery Suggests3
Ukrainians Thank North Macedonia For Supply Of Soviet-Era Tanks4
Amnesty Ukraine Chief Quits Over Rights Report5
Merchant Of Death. Lord Of War. The McDonald's Of Arms Trafficking: Who Is Viktor Bout?6
Ukrainian Forces Use Modified Soviet-Era Rocket Systems In Kharkiv Region7
Ukrainian Tanks, Artillery Defy Russian Forces Near Bakhmut8
Foreign-Flagged Cargo Vessel Arrives At Ukrainian Port For The First Time Since The Start Of The War9
Revived Rockets: Ukraine's Verba Multiple Launcher System Targets Russian Forces In Kharkiv10
Atomic Energy Chief Warns Of Risk Of 'Nuclear Disaster' At Ukraine Power Plant