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Belarus Police Arrest Opposition Activists


Police in Belarus have arrested at least 20 opposition activists marking Human Rights Day.

A number of activists wearing mock prison clothing were arrested Wednesday outside the Minsk headquarters of the Belarusian security service, known by its Soviet-era name the KGB. The Belarusian human rights movement, Charter 97, says the demonstrators carried placards with slogans, such as "I'm an independent journalist" or "I am a human rights activist."

Several activists were arrested in front of a Minsk department store after handing out leaflets with the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Associated Press says four other protesters were arrested in the western city of Grodno.

In a separate action today, five Belarusian opposition activists, banned from traveling abroad, marched to the residence of the country's President, Alexander Lukashenko. The activists five, Mikhas Pashkevich, Anatol Lyabedzka, Anton Kojpish, Zmitser Dashkevich and Franak Vyachorka. demanded that the travel ban be lifted.

The Belarusian news agency, Belapan, quotes the activists as saying they appealed to the president to lift the ban after receiving unsatisfactory replies from the authorities regarding their previous travel requests.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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