Bomb Injures 50 Attending Belarussian Independence Concert

Melvin Baker - AHN

Minsk, Belarus (AHN) - A day of national celebration turned into a day of terror when an explosion at a musical concert here injured at least 50 people. President Alexander Lukashenko was in attendance at the concert, but was not injured.

Tens of thousands were in attendance at the concert in the city's center to mark the independence day of the former Soviet nation when a bomb filled with screws and bolts exploded just after midnight local time.

Even so, the explosion failed to stop the celebration. "I heard a loud explosion and then there was black smoke. People started shouting but no one stopped the concert," one witness said, according to "They just isolated the place around the explosion and emergency vehicles began coming."

Police later found an unexploded bomb in the same area. They said explosives and nuts and bolts were inside a cardboard juice container.

The chief doctor of the city's emergency services said three people had been injured critically.

Such an incident is unheard of in this country. Opposition leaders urged Lukashenko not to use the bombing as an excuse to crack down on critics or to further limit freedoms.