Mass arrests reported at forbidden protest
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.