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Belarus Election: Riot Police Beat Journalists and Injure Children

Protest Bilorus

Mstislav Chernov, a Ukrainian journalist for the Associated Press (AP), was beaten by Belarusian security forces during a crackdown on protests in Minsk. At least 15 journalists, according to the independent Belarusian Association of Journalists, were detained by police on Sunday, the day of the presidential elections in Belarus. Detentions took place in Minsk, Vitebsk, Mogilev, and Grodno. The chairman of the Union of Journalists of Ukraine Serhiy Tomilenko announced this.

The policemen beat Chernov on his arms and legs at night. The British newspaper “Independent” informs that “shortly before midnight, AP photographer Mstislav Chernov was taken to hospital on suspicion of concussion after being beaten by riot police in a police van.”

Besides, there was information that the BBC camera crew was attacked in Minsk. Tellingly, all three journalists had accreditation from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. A group of men in black uniforms, without identification badges, approached the camera crew. One of them demanded an accreditation card. After that, he tore the card from the correspondent’s neck, snatched the camera from his hands and tried to break it. Two other journalists tried to persuade the security forces to return the accreditation card, but they reacted aggressively and started beating the cameraman and breaking his camera.

A terrible incident happened in the Belarusian city of Grodno where a security officer’s car rammed a car with a family on the road. A five-year-old girl was brought to the hospital covered with blood, “Nasha Niva” reports.

“A 5-year-old girl was injured in a car hit by a jeep in Grodno city. She was bleeding. I brought her and her mother to the ambulance. The doctors said she needed surgery. The man was detained,” a man who delivered the victims to the hospital said. Though, he did not see how and why the ram happened.

“I was driving from Suvorov Street, saw the flashers and went that way. The street was blocked, I see a broken car and a bloodied woman with a child in her arms, the girl was screaming. They said that there was no blare, but they were driving. The security officers told them that it had been their fault,” the eyewitness said.

After the woman and her child were hospitalised, her husband called and said that police had detained him.

To recap, mass protests against the falsification of the presidential election on 9 August broke out in Belarus. According to the exit poll results, Alexander Lukashenko won. Tear gas, light-noise grenades and water cannons were used against the protesters. According to human rights activists, many people were injured, and more than 5,000 were detained.

Natalia Tolub

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