MINSK, Belarus (AP) _ A human rights group says Belarusian authorities have detained 10 opposition activists before a rally marking a banned holiday.
The Vesna group says arrests and searches took place Wednesday throughout the authoritarian ex-Soviet state. Meanwhile, truckloads of police were deployed to the streets of the capital, where the opposition plans to hold the protest later Wednesday.
President Alexander Lukashenko's government has vowed to prevent rallies marking what the opposition calls "Freedom Day."
March 25 is the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the short-lived first independent Belarusian state. Lukashenko has been dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the U.S. and some European countries for his crackdown on critics and independent media.