Belarus courts sentence protesters after anti-Lukashenko rally Deirdre Jurand at 6:35 PM ET
[JURIST] Belarusian district courts Wednesday sentenced at least 55 demonstrators for participating in a banned "Freedom Day" rally [BBC report] in Minsk to protest against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile]. "Freedom Day" first began as a celebration of Belarus' 1918 declaration of independence but has in recent years become a protest against Lukashenko's authoritarian policies. Some protesters, including journalists, were sentenced to three to 15 days in jail while others were fined as much as $500. Officials at the Belarus Interior Ministry said that a total of 70 people face charges of public disorder.
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