Continued crackdown on civil society and opposition in Belarus
The harassment of human rights organisations, independent media and political opposition continued during the Christmas holidays. Several raids were conducted by KGB of both offices and apartments belonging to civil and political activists. United Civic Party was for instance searched during the weekend, as was the independent TV-station BELSAT who however managed to evacuate the premises before the raid. Our partner organisation in Warsaw, European Radio for Belarus (ERB), was also subjected to a raid of its Minsk office resulting in the confiscating of equipment. The radio station which is based in Poland airing into Belarus received official accreditation in Belarus over a year ago and has since then been also present in Belarus.
The continued pressure from authorities during the holidays was expected. It was no coincidence that the election took place shortly before Christmas.
– When the date for the election was made public, it was clear that the date was chosen carefully. The regime counted on Christmas holidays to remove international focus from Belarus, which also turned out to be the case. It is important to continue to monitor and report on the developments in the country as well as react to the negative developments, says Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Tags: Aleksander Lukashenka, European Radio for Belarus, Harassment, opposition, Presidential election 2010, and Violence against journalists.