Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 106

The Internal Affairs Ministry of Belarus has detained 84 participants in the May 30 pro-independence demonstration in Minsk, and will impose "administrative penalties" on most of them, according to ministry officials and a senior presidential aide. The aide, Vladimir Zametalin, accused Belarus Popular Front chairman Zyanon Pazdnyak of having masterminded the demonstration from a new headquarters in Poland. The officials defended the use of "special means" against the demonstrators as "fully justified in view of the demonstrators’ unlawful demands." (Interfax, Western agencies, May 31 and June 1)

Those demands were in support of Belarus maintaining its independence and in favor of dropping legal proceedings against 11 protesters (including seven Ukrainians) detained in connection with the April 26 pro-independence demonstration. "Special means" is the official term for gas and truncheons, and "administrative penalties" involve up to two weeks of imprisonment and/or heavy fines. When dozens of the participants in the April 26 demonstration received this type of penalties, neighboring countries and international organizations protested.

Parliament Distancing Itself from Presidential Policies.