Belarus police raid offices of Polish-funded TV

AP News
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Posted: Mar 31, 2017 10:00 AM
Belarus police raid offices of Polish-funded TV

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Police in authoritarian Belarus are searching the offices of a Polish satellite TV channel that has given extensive coverage to a recent wave of anti-government protests.

The Belsat channel, which is part of Polish public broadcaster TVP, is aimed at providing an alternative to Belarus' state-controlled television.

Belsat reported Friday that police were seizing equipment at two of its offices in Minsk, the capital.

Hundreds of people were arrested over the weekend in unsanctioned protests in Minsk. The protests followed sporadic demonstrations across the country over the past two months, an unusually persistent show of defiance in the former Soviet republic.

Belsat director Agnieszka Romaszewska told The Associated Press that the pretext for the raids was a copyright dispute over the Belsat logo.

But "I think it's kind of an 'award' for our good work during the March protests," she said. One cameraman was detained in the raids, she said.

Andrei Bastunets, head of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, said: "The attack on Belsat is only part of a new wave of repression against independent journalists."