Mass ar­rests re­ported at for­bid­den protest

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

Po­lice in Be­larus cracked down hard Satur­day on op­po­si­tion pro­test­ers who tried to hold a for­bid­den demon­stra­tion in the cap­i­tal — a hu­man rights group said that more than 400 peo­ple were ar­rested and that many were beaten.

The demon­stra­tors had hoped to build on a ris­ing wave of de­fi­ance of the for­mer Soviet repub­lic’s au­thor­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment, led by Pres­i­dent Alexan­der Lukashenko, who has ruled since 1994.

About 700 peo­ple had tried to march Satur­day along Minsk’s main av­enue, but they were blocked by a cor­don of riot po­lice wield­ing clubs and hold­ing shields. After a stand­off, the ar­rests be­gan.

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