Opposition activist in Mahilyow briefly detained by police for demonstrating against Russia’s airbase plans


Opposition activist Mikalay Hladyshaw was briefly detained by police in Mahilyow for staging a one-man demonstration against the establishment of a Russian airbase in Belarus.

At about 9:40 a.m., the activist of the United Civic Party hanged a sign saying “No to Russian Airbases on Belarusian Land” on a fence opposite the building of the city executive committee and stood there for about an hour and a half, until a policeman approached him and took him to a police station.

He was told to present himself at the Leninski district police station as a person charged under the Civil Offenses Code and then allowed to go home.

In an interview with BelaPAN, Mr. Hladyshaw expressed satisfaction with the demonstration. “I stated publicly that there should be no foreign military bases in our country,” he said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on April 23 that Russia was planning to deploy a fighter jet regiment in Belarus by 2015, and that the two countries were beginning to consider plans for establishing an air base in Belarus.

The announcement sparked a barrage of criticism from Belarusian opposition groups.

The Russian Air Force commander, Viktor Bondarev, said last week that the airbase would be located in Lida, Hrodna region, and begin operation later in the year. //BelaPAN