Student arrests

March 31, 2006

Most of the pro-democracy protesters arrested by Belarusian police in Minsk last week were students - and several were relatives of leading opponents of President Alaksandr Lukashenka.

The protesters, who had camped in October Square, were calling for a rerun of the March 19 poll that returned Mr Lukashenka to power for a third term.

International observers have questioned the validity of the results.

Students arrested for what the Belarusian authorities consider "political"

offences are likely to be expelled from university.

Alaksandr Kazulin, former presidential candidate and former rector of the Belarusian State University, said: "Our youth has shown all its heroism, but the authorities couldn't stand it."

A student who brought pancakes for the campers was arrested, put in a detention cell and force-fed the batch. Among those taken into custody was the son of Alaksandr Milinkievich, opposition presidential candidate.

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