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Belarus opposition leader arrested at rally

[JURIST] Leading Belarusian opposition figure Alexander Milinkevich [official website; Wikipedia profile] was arrested Wednesday along with other demonstrators at a rally in Minsk, according to activists. About 7,000 opposition members gathered for what is traditionally the largest rally of the year in Belarus [JURIST news archive] on the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. At the rally, Milinkevich was reportedly put in a police car and taken to the police station. Milinkevich had been warned by prosecutors not to hold the rally in October Square, where major demonstrations took place [JURIST report] last month over alleged fraud in the presidential elections.

Milinkevich opposed Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile] in the election, which Lukashenko won amid widespread reports of fraud and irregularities. Lukashenko and other officials face a travel ban [JURIST report] in the EU over the elections, and have long been criticized [JURIST report] for their human rights record. EU officials said Thursday that they would consider lifting the travel ban [EUObserver.com report] if Milinkevich and other opposition leaders are released. Reuters has more.

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