Protest action against Russian troops dispersed in central Minsk

The opposition in Belarus today made an attempt to hold a protest action on October Square in dowtown Minsk against the presence of the Russian troops on the territory of Belarus who are to take part in the joint military exercise West-2009. The action was organized by Zmitser Dashkevich, the leader of the Youth Front, Viktar Ivashkevich, one of the leaders of the Belarusian Popular Front, Viachaslau Siuchyk, the leader of the Together movement, Aliaksandr Arastovich, a deputy chairman of the Narodnaya Hramada and Zmitser Bandarenka, the coordinator of the European Belarus campaign.

Some 40 participants were seen at the beginning of the action, but 7 people, including Zmitser Dashkevich, Zmitser Kaspiarovich and Ales Makayeu, had been detained before the action.

Zmitser Bandarenka who unfolded a "Russian аrmy, go home!" poster was arrested during the protest. Yahen Afangel was detained after he unfoled the national white-red-white flag. Viktar Ivashkevich and Aliaksandr Atroshchanau were also detained.

The Belapan news agency reports that police commandos acted ruthlessly and hindered the journalists to carry out their professional duties. They felled photo correspondent Yulia Darashkevich and broke a camera of a Polish TV reporter.