Belarussian journalists protest colleagues’ detention for covering demonstrations

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Police detained several journalists from Belarusian news outlets Tuesday on charges of taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration

Journalists from the TUT.BY media outlet hold banners reading 'I don't protest but work,' 'This is me at work,' and 'Freedom for journalists!' in front of a police station in Minsk, Belarus, on Sept. 2, 2020.Dozens of journalists gathered Wednesday outside a police station in the capital of Belarus to protest the detention of colleagues covering a demonstration against the nation’s authoritarian president and an election the opposition sees as rigged.

Two Moscow-based Associated Press journalists who were covering the protests were deported to Russia on Saturday. In addition, the AP’s Belarussian journalists were told by the government that their press credentials had been revoked.During Tuesday’s protest, hundreds of students marched across the city, chanting for Lukashenko to “Go away!” as they continued a fourth straight week of mass post-election protests.

Lukashenko, who has run the ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million with an iron fist for 26 years, has dismissed protesters as Western puppets.During the first few days of post-election protests, police detained nearly 7,000 people and beat hundreds, drawing international outrage. The government has since avoided large-scale violence and sought to end the protests with threats, selective detention of protesters and prosecution of activists.

“The Belarussians deserve the right to choose their own leaders through a truly free and fair election under independent observation,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington. “We demand an immediate end to the violence against them and the release of all who are unjustly detained.” “I haven’t violated the law,” he said in a telephone interview from Poland. “The problem is that the constitution and laws no longer work in Belarus. It’s strange to hear the president make charges that can only be made in court.”

 

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