Belarusian Police Arrest Hundreds of Protesters

Posted July 6th, 2011 at 8:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Belarusian police have arrested more than 400 people during another day of protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Marches were held Wednesday in most major cities, including Grodno, where witnesses say police grabbed people by their hair and clothes and threw them into vans. Women and children were among those arrested.

Several journalists were also arrested after police warned them not to turn on their cameras.

The opposition has used the Internet and social networks to organize a wave of marches against the Lukashenko government. Demonstrators on Sunday clapped their hands while Mr. Lukashenko tried to make a Belarusian Independence Day speech in Minsk. Dozens of people were jailed.

The United States has called President Lukashenko Europe's last dictator for suppressing free speech and human rights and rigging elections. Washington and the European Union have imposed numerous sanctions against his government.

Belarus is also facing economic turmoil with its national currency plunging in value.