7 reported held after unsanctioned Belarus protest

AP News
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Posted: Mar 10, 2017 12:31 PM

MALADZYECHNA, Belarus (AP) — A Belarusian human rights organization says seven opposition activists have been detained by police after an unsanctioned protest by more 1,000 people in a provincial city.

The Friday demonstration in Maladzyechna, a city of about 100,000 people 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of the capital Minsk, came a day after President Alexander Lukashenko suspended the collection of fines from unemployed people. The two-year-old law, which imposes penalties of $250 on people who are jobless for more than six months but do no register on state labor exchanges, has been the focus of a wave of demonstrations over the past month.

The protesters in Maladzyechna demanded the law be entirely annulled, and called for the end of Lukashenko's 23-year-long rule.

The human rights organization Vesna said seven opposition figures were arrested.