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EU condemns crackdown on protesters in Minsk

March 26, 1:30 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Brussels demands the immediate release of "all recently detained peaceful citizens," the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU's diplomatic service, said in a press release

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MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. The European Union has condemned the steps of Belarusian authorities to disperse an unauthorized demonstration in Minsk and other cities on Saturday.

Brussels demands the immediate release of "all recently detained peaceful citizens," the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU's diplomatic service, said in a press release.

"Such repression of freedom of expression and assembly is in contradiction with Belarus’ stated policy of democratization and its international commitments," the press release said.

In the run up to and during Saturday’s Freedom Day events and despite international community calls for restraint, "the response by the security services was indiscriminate and inappropriate," it said.

The EU also voiced concerns over detentions of peaceful citizens, journalists and also a raid on an office of the Viasna human rights center. "Steps taken by Belarus to respect universal fundamental freedoms, rule of law and human rights will remain key for the shaping of the European Union's relationship with the country," it said.

Some 300 people were detained by law enforcers as they intended to take part in the March of Angry Belarusians in Minsk on Saturday. The rally was scheduled to become part of protests that have hit the country since February. The citizens take to the streets to protest against Belarus’ social and economic policies.

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