19 Sep 2012

Activists and Journalists beaten and detained in Belarus

Several people were detained and beaten in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Tuesday as they attempted to hold a rally calling for a nationwide boycott of this weekend's parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic.

Minsk protest

"Opposition activists were going to hold another picket near the Frunzensky store in Minsk calling on people not to vote in the elections to the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly," the opposition Charter 97 group said on its website. (RIA Novosti)

Agents in plainclothes repeatedly hit several journalists covering an opposition protest organized by activists calling for a boycott of Sunday's parliamentary vote, according to news reports. Sergei Grits, a photographer for The Associated Press, said his face was covered with blood after one of the assailants punched him and broke his glasses, according to AP.

journalist at Minsk protest

All of the journalists were shoved into a minivan with no license plates and driven to a police station where their equipment and documents were confiscated with no explanation, news reports said. Police held the journalists without charge for two hours and then released them, the AP reported. The officials also deleted the images and video recordings from the journalists' cameras before returning the equipment, Reuters reported.

Committee to Protect Journalists