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Opposition in Minsk Suspects Authorities of Provoking Riots
Reporting from Minsk, ERR correspondent Krister Paris says the opposition in Belarus believes riots in the capital were orchestrated by the government.
Paris said that election day initially went calmly but toward evening ominous signs emerged.
"First of all," said Paris, "one of the presidential candidates, Vladimir Neklyayev, who was attempting to arrive at a demonstration with megaphones, was brutally beaten. A tremendous crowd of people, about 40,000, gathered. Most of them stood calmly and listened to speeches by opposition candidates, but a certain contingent began attacking the government building," said Paris.
He said the Belarusian OMON special forces acted in a restrained manner. "In no way was the demonstration violently broken up as was claimed." Paris said OMON later turned violent after making arrests.
"At 3 in the morning, the apartment of one of the best-known editors of a major opposition publication, Charter '97, was searched and [Natalya Radzina] was arrested. A number of candidates of the opposition have been beaten. There are conflicting reports, but it is clear that arrests are being made," said Paris.