Nearly 400 protesters arrested in Belarus

July 4, 2011 at 8:11 AM

MINSK, Belarus, July 4 (UPI) -- Human rights activists say nearly 400 people were arrested during Independence Day protests in Belarus.

In Minsk Sunday, police used tear gas to break up a crowd of protesters disrupting an Independence Day speech by President Alexander Lukashenko, RIA Novosti reported.

"Over 200 people were arrested in Minsk," the Vesna Human Rights Center reported. "About 180 people were arrested in other Belarusian cities."

In his speech, Lukashenko accused the "capitals of other countries" of plotting to bring down his government.

"We must strongly and consistently oppose the unconscionable scenario of the 'colored revolutions,' which are written as a blueprint in the capitals of other countries," the New York Times quoted Lukashenko as saying.

The former Soviet republic has been the site of increasingly frequent protests against Lukashenko's 17 year rule.

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