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Belarus opposition rallies near KGB head office in Minsk

RIA Novosti

20:00 30/01/2011

MINSK, January 30 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian opposition members gathered for an unsanctioned rally in front of the Belarusian security service (KGB) building in downtown Minsk on Sunday.

The protesters are demanding the immediate release of opposition members who were detained in mid-December over participation in unsanctioned post-election rally in Minsk and accused of organizing mass riots.

Police have so far detained seven protesters who were standing near the KGB building with the portraits of the arrested opposition members. They grabbed several portraits, the protesters said.

The action continued despite the arrests and warns by police that the rally has been unsanctioned. The protesters stand holding lighted candles, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.

More than 600 protesters including eleven Russians were detained following the protests, which were sparked after President Alexander Lukashenko won a landslide on December 19 to secure a fourth term in office. The opposition alleged vote rigging.

Most were held for up to 15 days and have been released. But some of them still remain in jail, including ex-presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, who came second in the vote.

Belarusian ex-presidential candidate Vladimir Neklyaev and Irina Khalip, a journalist for the Belarusian Novaya Gazeta and wife of Sannikov, were released from jail on Saturday.

Other opposition candidates Vitaly Rymashevsky and Grigory Kostusev were released from custody in early January but placed under a restraining order preventing them from leaving the city.



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