Belarus jails 600 protesters
MINSK: Belarus on Tuesday jailed 600 demonstrators detained during a mass rally against re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, defying fierce Western condemnation of the bloody crackdown. Police officials said the protesters would be held for up to 15 days while prosecutors probed their alleged involvement in "organising mass disturbances"-a crime that carries a sentence of up to 15 years. "It is not a fact that all of them will be released after 15 days," Minsk police spokesman Alexander Lastovsky told AFP.
Lukashenko vowed Monday to come down hard on all those responsible for taking part in Sunday's unauthorised demonstration against his regime. "That is it," Lukashenko declared in a nationally-televised press conference. "Our country will have no more senseless, muddleheaded democracy." "I warned you," he added. "Kids-you are messing with the wrong guy." The wave of arrests left relatives searching for loved ones in the city's prisons, with groups scouring the long list of names posted on the walls of one facility and waiting. -Afp