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U.S. Department of State
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Press Statement


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Press Statement by James B. Foley, Deputy Spokesman
March 27, 2000

Belarus: U.S. Condemns Brutal Attack on Peaceful March

The U.S. condemns the brutal and unjustified suppression by the Belarusian authorities of a peaceful march in Minsk on March 25, which was to mark the 82nd anniversary of the creation of the Belarusian National Republic. The authorities deployed police with dogs, riot troops, and armored personnel carriers in central Minsk to arrest 300 to 500 Belarusian citizens, reportedly beating many of them. Among those attacked were Anatoly Lebedko, the First Deputy Chairman of the 13th Supreme Soviet, Polish parliamentarian Mariusz Kaminski, and 35 Belarusian, Russian and Polish journalists. The authorities also detained a U.S. citizen accredited to the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in clear violation of his diplomatic status.

The Lukashenko regime's suppression of this demonstration makes clear its disinterest in dialogue. We call on the authorities in Minsk to release immediately all those arrested and to show respect for the freedoms of expression and assembly.

[end of document]

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