Belarus opposition leader jailed after joining protest

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SERGEI GRITS/Associated Press

A man wearing a face mask and hood to protect against coronavirus attends a rally to support potential candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in Minsk, Belarus, May 31. A human rights group in Belarus says more than 30 people have been detained amid demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko running for another term.

Associated Press

MINSK, Belarus — A leading Belarus opposition politician was jailed June 1 amid a crackdown on protesters who rallied against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election bid, rights activists said.

Lukashenko, who has relentlessly suppressed opposition and independent news media during more than a quarter-century in power, is seeking a new term in an election scheduled for Aug. 9.

Nikolai Statkevich, one of Belarus’ most prominent opposition figures, was handed a 15-day jail sentence Monday after taking part in Sunday’s protest in the capital, Minsk, according to the Viasna rights group. Statkevich served six years in prison for involvement in protests after the 2010 election.

Viasna said that more than 50 opposition activists detained in recent days are to face courts in several parts of the country.

On May 29, popular opposition blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky was detained during a rally in Grodno, the country’s fourth-largest city.

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