St. Petersburg newspaper photographer held at Belarus rally

Police detained a photographer from a St. Petersburg newspaper during Sunday's opposition riots in Minsk, the newspaper's website said on Monday.

"Photographer Alexander Astafyev was detained during Sunday's riots in the Belarusian capital," the My District (MR7) newspaper website said. "The details of [his detention] are being clarified."

Earlier Russia Today said its cameramen Anton Kharchenko and Viktor Filyaev were injured in a clash between opposition supporters and police at Independence Square in Minsk.

A journalist with the Belarusian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Irina Khalip, the wife of presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, was also detained at the protest along with her husband on Sunday.

Thousands of Belarusians were brutally dispersed in clashes with Interior Ministry troops late Sunday when opposition protestors tried to storm the parliament after preliminary results showed strongman Alexander Lukashenko had won his fourth term as president at the helm.

The Ekho Moskvy radio station reported earlier some 600 people were detained by police at the opposition rally. The Belarusian Interior Ministry said the organizers of the rally have been detained, without providing any further details.

At least five presidential candidates were arrested following the protests. One of them, Vladimir Neklyaev, was severely beaten and taken to a police station directly from his hospital bed where he received treatment for a head injury.

ST. PETERSBURG, December 20 (RIA Novosti)


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