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Czech diplomacy calls on Russia, Belarus to release demonstrators

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Prague, March 27 (CTK) – The Czech Foreign Ministry called yesterday on Russian and Belarussian authorities to release the people who had been detained during the weekend demonstrations in these countries.

About 100 demonstrators, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were detained during the protests against the government officials’ corruption in Moscow on Sunday.

The Belarussian police arrested more than 400 people protesting against the regime on Saturday.

“We are carefully monitoring the current developments in Belarus and Russia. We call on the respective authorities to release all detained citizens and respect fundamental rights and freedoms,” Czech diplomacy tweeted yesterday.

On Saturday, the Belorussian police blocked a march of hundreds of people who protested against the government’s economic and social policy.

Before the march, the police raided the seat of Viasna, the most active local association of human rights advocates, in Minsk. One of the main opposition leaders, Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, was arrested in Brest, southwest Belarus.

The European Union and the United States stood up against the mass arresting of demonstrators, human rights activists and journalists in Belarus on Sunday. They say this practice is at variance with fundamental democratic principles and the country’s international commitments.

According to the Russian Interior Ministry, some 8,000 people took part in the Sunday protest march in Moscow, while journalists of the non-state media estimate the attendance at several dozen thousands.

The protest in Moscow was part of a coordinated wave of demonstrations, the largest since the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. The protests were staged in 80 towns.

Navalny called for demonstrations recently after the release of a video accusing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of abuse of office and enrichment at the expense of the state.

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