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Belarusian riot police actions against Russian journalists unjustified - Russian embassy

RIA Novosti

14:29 20/12/2010

MINSK, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - Actions taken by Belarusian Special Police Forces against Russian journalists were not justified, a representative of Russian Embassy in Minsk said on Monday.

Police detained a photographer from a St. Petersburg newspaper during Sunday's opposition riots in Minsk, the newspaper's website said on Monday. Earlier Russia Today said its cameramen Anton Kharchenko and Viktor Filyaev were injured in a clash between opposition supporters and police at Independence Square in Minsk.

"The Russian Embassy in Belarus is aware of the complexity of the situation that occurred in the evening of December 19 in Minsk, and at the same time understands that the actions of the Belarusian Special Police Forces against Russian journalists, who had official accreditation, were not always justified," the representative said adding that police should not rank journalists to hooligans.

On Sunday, a journalist with the Belarusian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Irina Khalip, the wife of presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, was also detained at the protest along with her husband.

Thousands of Belarusians were brutally dispersed in clashes with Interior Ministry troops late Sunday when opposition protestors tried to storm the parliament after preliminary results showed strongman Alexander Lukashenko had won his fourth term as president at the helm.

The Ekho Moskvy radio station reported earlier some 600 people were detained by police at the opposition rally. The Belarusian Interior Ministry said the organizers of the rally have been detained, without providing any further details.

At least five presidential candidates were arrested following the protests. One of them, Vladimir Neklyaev, was severely beaten and taken to a police station directly from his hospital bed where he received treatment for a head injury.

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