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EUROPE > Belarus police detain journalists at topless protest

MINSK - Agence France-Presse

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This file photo shows a FEMEN member shouting slogans in Vatican, who are also known for their topless protests.  REUTERS photo

This file photo shows a FEMEN member shouting slogans in Vatican, who are also known for their topless protests. REUTERS photo

Belarus police detained journalists covering a topless protest Monday outside the office of ex-Soviet state's KGB security service to mark President Alexander Lukashenko's disputed re-election a year ago.

At least six journalists were arrested for covering the protest by feminist group FEMEN, whose members regularly strip in eye-catching stunts, an AFP photographer said by phone from a police station.

He said the FEMEN members managed to escape arrest after undressing.

The detained journalists included one other Western reporter, he said, adding that police were trying to delete pictures of the event from his camera and had not yet filed any formal charges.

Nearly 50,000 people rallied in the bitter winter cold one year ago when Lukashenko was declared winner of a fraud-tainted ballot in which each of his nine rivals was awarded less than three percent of the vote.

The show of fury at the veteran leader's regime led to more than 700 arrests and the imprisonment of six candidates in a crackdown that broke all Western efforts to repair relations with the isolated ex-Soviet state.

December/19/2011

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