As Belarus Cracks Down, Protesters Stomp, Chant

Clapping, stomping to protest authoritarian gov't
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2011 5:52 AM CDT
A protester applauds as people protest in Minsk, Belarus, yesterday. Some 150 youth activists have been detained, and hundreds more have been interrogated by police and Belarus' security agency.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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(Newser) – For the third Wednesday in a row, clapping and stomping demonstrators across Belarus yesterday turned out to protest their country's economic crisis and the iron fist of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko, reports the AP. The government has in turn banned all such rallies, using state security forces to break them up and investigate organizers.

"With the Internet, even these dictatorial authorities have a hard time shutting our mouths," says one activist, who was released from police custody only after supplying his social media passwords. Belarus heavily censors the Internet, trying to shut down online organizing. But despite the ban against protesting, protesters by the hundreds, on foot and by bicycle, gathered at more than 30 locations around Belarus to voice displeasure with the ruling regime. "I'm tired of fear," said a 19-year-old student with dreadlocks. "Even in a closed society one has to find a way to protest. We do it by clapping and stomping."

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