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Belarus opens case into plotting riots, 26 suspects detained

March 24, 4:30 UTC+3 MINSK
According to media reports, the riots were planned to take place on March 25
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Belarusian opposition protesters

Belarusian opposition protesters

© AP Photo/Sergei Grits

MINSK, March 24. /TASS/. Belarusian authorities have opened a criminal case into plotting mass riots and detained 26 suspects, the country’s STV channel said citing the state security service, the KGB.

"The KGB launched a criminal case into training and preparations for taking part in mass riots. In total, 26 people were detained," the channel said in its Thursday broadcast, adding that all the detainees were members of the unregistered nationalist group White Legion and pro-Western Young Front organizations.

One of the detainees, a former White Legion activist Miroslav Lozovsky, was found to keep an arsenal of weapons in his house, including axes, a machete knife, a baton and an unregistered AK-47 assault rifle and cartridges, the KGB said.

Manuals on urban warfare and self-made explosive devices were also seized from some of the detainees.

According to earlier media reports, the riots were planned to take place on March 25 and coincide with the so-called Freedom Day, marking the anniversary of the 1918 creation of the Belarusian People's Republic under the German occupation. The date is honored by groups opposed to the current Belarusian government.

"The organizers have no plans of holding the so-called Freedom Day on March 25 in Minsk, while the arrival of militants from Ukraine was discussed seriously and for quite a while," STV said.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday the country’s authorities were not trying to silence any individuals or groups, but will crack down on all those who violate the law.

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