Up to 50 journalists detained during rally in Belarus

BBC and local reporters held by police as protests against elections continue

Belarus women are surrounded by police during a peaceful protest rally against the results of the presidential elections in Minsk. Photograph: Tatyana Zenkovich/EPA

Belarus women are surrounded by police during a peaceful protest rally against the results of the presidential elections in Minsk. Photograph: Tatyana Zenkovich/EPA

 

The British foreign secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the mass detention of journalists in Belarus after disputed elections. Mr Raab said that BBC personnel were among those held.

The foreign secretary tweeted on Friday: “I condemn the mass detention of over 50 journalists last night in Belarus, including from BBC, local & international media.

“This was a blatant attempt to interfere with objective & honest reporting.

“The Belarusian authorities must stop targeting journalists & #defendmediafreedom”.

The BBC’s Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg tweeted on Thursday: “Tonight we were detained by police in the centre of Minsk, held at a police station for two hours for ‘document checks’. Same thing happened to many other journalists. A clear attempt to interfere with coverage of events in #Belarus.”

The Reporters Without Borders organisation, which is also known as RSF, tweeted: “#Belarus: Nearly 50 journalists were detained last night for identity checks! In all: 1 journalist hospitalised, 1 expelled and 4 awaiting trial. RSF_Inter calls for all charges to be dropped and for the end of this senseless repression.”

Elections

The east European nation has seen widespread protests since president Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of elections last week.

Opposition figures insist the vote was rigged as Mr Lukashenko claimed election as president for the sixth time.

The Viasna human rights centre reported journalists were among hundreds of people arrested during a rally in the capital Minsk on Thursday. – PA