Belarusian Police Arrest Organizer Of Opposition March

Police detained Viktar Ivashkevich, deputy head of the Belarusian Popular Front, and Valery Ukhnalyou, deputy head of the Belarusian Party of Communists, in Minsk on September 25, Belapan reported. The arrest took place after the two opposition leaders left a cafe in which they were celebrating the birthday of Ivashkevich, who turned 48 last week. Ivashkevich heads the organizing committee for the European March for Freedom, which is planned by the opposition for October 14 in Minsk. Ukhnalyou was released on September 26, after police officers drafted a protocol on his intoxication and filmed his examination at a sobering-up station. "I think Viktar will get a term that will keep him in jail until October 14," Ukhnalyou told the agency. "The purpose [of the police's action] is evident -- to discredit the opposition on the eve of protest actions and to present its leaders as alcoholics. They apparently expected to film staggering guys with incoherent speech. They did not succeed, we had celebrated the birthday in a purely symbolic manner." JM