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Rights group: Social network activists detained in Belarus

Author: Reuters All articles by this author

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Aug. 30, 2012 18:27
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Belarussian police have detained at least four people who were involved in running an anti-government online group on the popular social network Vkontakte.ru.
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MINSK - Belarussian police have detained at least four people who were involved in running an anti-government online group on the popular social network Vkontakte.ru, local human rights group Vesna-96 said on Thursday.

Police could not be reached for comment.

Vesna-96 published the names of four people who it said were moderators of an online group called "We are sick of this Lukashenko", a reference to President Alexander Lukashenko who has run the former Soviet republic since 1994.

The group's page was unavailable on Thursday. Vesna said "a few more" people linked to the group had been detained but did not name them.

Lukashenko, who tolerates little dissent and has been targeted by European Union sanctions including a travel ban over his crackdown on opposition, faced a wave of protests last year that were organised through social networks.

Police detained about 1,500 people during those protests and hundreds were sentenced fines and short jail terms.

Belarus will hold a parliamentary election on September 23, certain to yield a legislature loyal to Lukashenko.

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