Belarusian police siege Polish centre

Belarusian police officers have thrown out members of the Polish minority from their headquarters in Ivyanets, near Minsk.

"Police entered the building and blocked the entrance. Poles tried to get in but they were thrown out," said Andrzej Poczobut, member of the Union of Poles in Belarus, not recognised by the authorities in Minsk.

Policemen, accompanied by bailiffs, might try to detain Polish activists, including the head of the Polish cultural centre in Ivyanets Teresa Sobol, claims Poczobut.

It is not the fist time when Belarusian authorities have tried to siege the Polish cultural centre in Belarus. In January, over 50 Poles were detained by Belarusian officials as they travelled to a meeting of the Polish minority in Ivyanets.

Meanwhile, the court in the western city of Hrodna has ruled that Andzelika Borys, head of the Union of Poles in Belarus, has to pay 1,000 euro fine on trumped-up charges related to the Polonika company.

The company, run by Borys, finances the Union of Poles in Belarus. Borys has been accused by the Belarusian court of illegal charity work, including a Polish language school, attended by 400 students.

The Union of Poles in Belarus represents a Polish minority amounting to around 400,000. In 2005, Lukashenko launched a campaign against Polish minority, claiming that it was a "fifth column" trying to destabilise his regime.


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