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Belarus Bars Polish Politicians From Celebration

Poland says Belarus prevented a number of senior Polish politicians from entering the country Wednesday for Polish Army Day celebrations.

The Polish officials say they were kept waiting at the Belarusian border for nearly an hour before being turned away.

Belarusian authorities say the Poles were planning to gather with what it calls an illegal Polish group. They say the Poles were told in advance they would not allowed into Belarus, but tried to enter anyway merely to create a scandal.

Belarus has a large Polish minority. Part of the country was Polish territory before World War II.

President Alexander Lukashenko has accused the Polish groups of conspiring to overthrow his government.

Poland has expelled several Belarusian diplomats and imposed a travel ban on some members of the Lukashenko government.

The United States and European Union have routinely accused Mr. Lukashenko of suppressing human rights and free speech. He has accused the West of interfering in Belarusian affairs.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.