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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Belarussian Protesters Jailed




MINSK, Belarus -- Belarussian courts sentenced 29 anti-government demonstrators who staged a protest in the Belarus capital to fines or short jail terms Monday, an opposition spokesman said.


"Belarus courts swiftly considered the cases of 29 people today," said Igor Lazarchuk of the opposition Belarus Popular Front.


He said three of the demonstrators would spend 10 days behind bars for trying to hand white and red paper cranes, the symbol of Belarus, over to President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday.


The other 26 were given one-day jail terms or fines of up to 5 million Belarussian rubles (about $100), well above the average monthly wage in the former Soviet republic.


About 10,000 people took part in the march, protesting against government plans to reintegrate Belarus with neighbouring Russia.


Police made the arrests after protesters threw several smoke bombs at police and tried to proceed through police cordons towards the city centre.


Lukashenko, who has shunned the radical and tough market reforms of other former Soviet republics, has drawn criticism from the West for assuming wide powers in a controversial referendum in 1996 and suppressing opposition.