Police arrest Belarusian Christian Democracy leaders to prevent them from attending protest against Minsk government’s plans for former Catholic monastery complex

Police arrested presidential nominee Vital Rymashewski and another leader of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD), Paval Sevyarynets, in Minsk on Tuesday evening to prevent them from attending a demonstration against the city government’s plans to convert a former Catholic monastery complex into a hotel, BelaPAN reports.

Plainclothesmen grabbed Messrs. Rymashewski and Sevyarynets and at least five other opposition activists while they were approaching the demonstration venue. All of them were released without a charge about an hour later, after the demonstration had ended.

Some 10 people took part in the event. They lit oil lamps, prayed and sang “Mahutny Bozha” (Oh, Lord Almighty), a Belarusian-language religious anthem. The planned cycle run around the monastery complex had to be cancelled because of the police crackdown.

BCD activists vowed last week that they would demonstrate in front of the former monastery complex every day as part of a campaign for its return to Catholics.

In photos:

1 – Plainclothesmen arrest Vital Rymashewski;
2, 3 – Plainclothesmen arrest Paval Sevyarynets.