Belarussian opposition protests in Prague


Prague, Feb 14 (CTK) - About 20 young people with historical Belarussian flags and banners featuring opposition representatives Tatiana Shapuchko and Authien Afnahel staged a rally protesting against the persecution of democratic youth organisations in Belarus in Prague yesterday.

The protest action was staged by the movement Young Renewal from the Belarussian People's Front that disagrees with the policies of Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

Roman Kovalchuk, chairman of the Young Renewal, said young representatives of opposition in Belarus were target of various types of reprisals and intimidation.

"Shapuchko, deputy chairwoman of Young Renewal, was expelled from a state university, Afnahel, one of the leaders of the campaign European Belarus, was kidnapped by masked men last December and as a warning driven to a country road off Minsk," Kovalchuk said, adding that opposition leaders were threatened with murder unless they end their political activities.

The protesters waived the English-speaking banner Stop Political Terror and Political Expulsions of Students in Belarus.

The event was a sign of solidarity with the march I Love Belarus in Minsk, staged by Young Renewal on St Valentine's Day since the 1990s.

The EU has imposed sanctions on Lukashenko's regime in Belarus over its authoritarian practices.

The Czech Republic has been among vocal critics of Lukashenko's regime for years.

The Czech Republic grants scholarships for Belarussian students, including those disagreeing with the existing regime that has banned their studies in Belarus.


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