Over 300 people detained during protests in Minsk: Belarus Police

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Minsk [Belarus], December 14  Over 300 people have been detained by the police during non-authorised protest rallies held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, the press service of the Minsk police said on Sunday.
Earlier in the day protesters gathered in different residential neighborhoods of Minsk, a new tactic recently employed instead of large rallies in the downtown. Law enforcement officers prevented protesters from gathering, but some supporters of the opposition managed to hold local rallies.
“Today, on December 13, since 12:00 pm [10:00 GMT] groups of citizens were gathering in various districts of the capital. The total number did not exceed 800 people who designated themselves with non-registered symbols. Over 300 citizens have been detained on the territory of Minsk over the violation of the law on mass events,” the statement, published on the police website, read.
The statement added that the police warned protesters that illegal actions were unacceptable, but a number of people actively breached the law and were detained.
“The participants of the non-authorised events were repeatedly warned about the inadmissibility of illegal actions. Those who did not react to the requests, and the most active citizens, were detained,” the police said.
The statement stressed that some of the detainees were previously prosecuted over their participation in non-authorised events, and particular persons showed active disobedience to the lawful demands of law enforcement officers.
According to the police, participation in non-authorised mass events and disobedience to the lawful demands of law enforcement officers is punishable with a fine or an administrative arrest for up to 15 days.
The Belarusian human right center Viasna said it possessed information that about at least 210 protesters were detained in Belarus on Sunday, the majority of which were detained in Minsk.
According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the police detained three journalists during protests in Minsk.
Mass protests began in Belarus after the presidential election on August 9, which, according to the official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, securing himself a sixth consecutive term in office. The opposition refused to recognize the results, claiming electoral fraud.

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