Violence, arrests end Minsk, Belarus protests

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Friday, March 24, 2006

After four days of protesting the disputed election victory of Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk, Belarus, protesters have been dispersed by riot police using clubs. Police arrested some 300 protesters in the process of ending the demonstration.

The European Union released a statement condemning the arrest of these protestors, and "decided to take restrictive measures against those responsible for the violations of international electoral standards, including president Lukashenko." The twenty-five member states have called for the immediate release of all protesters, including an estimated 400 arrested during the five-day protest against the election.

Spokeswoman Janelle Hironimus of the US Department of State also responded to this morning's raid, stating: "As we have said before, we condemn all acts by the government of Belarus to deprive the citizens of that country of their right to peacefully express their views."

Canadian official Pamela Greenwell, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Affairs Department, confirmed that a freelance Canadian journalist was also arrested during the raid.