Belarusian police raided the homes and offices of journalists and human rights activists

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gives a speech in Minsk, Belarus May 26, 2021. Press service of the President of the Republic of Belarus / Handout via REUTERS /

Kiev, July 16 (Reuters) – On Friday, the Belarusian police searched the offices and homes of journalists and human rights activists for the third day in a row, thus extending the new crackdown on opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko, according to human rights activists.

The Polish broadcaster Nexta Live announced that the office of the US broadcaster Radio Liberty in the capital Minsk had also been searched. The Belarusian human rights organization Viasna-96 reported that two journalists were arrested by Radio Liberty.

Belarusian security officials were not immediately available for comment.

The authorities have closed a number of nongovernmental media and human rights groups since protests against a presidential election began last August, which the opposition said was rigged. Lukashenko, in power since 1994, denies election fraud.

Police officers went to the homes of a journalist from Polish TV broadcaster Belsat and several local reporters on Friday, Viasna-96 reported.

On Wednesday and Thursday, security officers searched around 20 human rights, charity, media and expert institutions and arrested more than 15 people, including the head of Viasna-96. Continue reading

The searches and arrests in the former Soviet republic were condemned by Western politicians, international human rights activists and the Belarusian protest leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who lives in Lithuania.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain condemned an “escalation of repression” in Belarus, and the European Union and the US have imposed sanctions on Belarus in recent months. Continue reading

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