MINSK, November 16./TASS/. Twenty-four journalists were detained while covering protests in Belarus on Sunday, of whom eleven are still in custody, the Belarusian Association of Journalists said on Monday.
Administrative offense protocols were filed against nine out of the 13 released journalists; all of them work for non-state media outlets. There were also Russian reporters among those detained, but they were released after their IDs had been checked.
According to the Association of Journalists, as many as 23 representatives of the media remain in custody as of now, the apprehended journalists included. The Association added that on Monday a Minsk court slapped 13 days of arrest on an editor of tut.by, Mariya Yerema, under article 23.34 (violation of the procedure for organizing or holding mass events).
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.
On November 3, the Association of Journalists said that there had been 320 detentions of journalists in Belarus since August 9.