Jul 14, 2021 - World

Belarus conducts more than 40 raids targeting activists, journalists

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko talks as he meets with his counterpart, Russia's Vladimir Putinin Saint Petersburg on July 13, 2021.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko talks during a meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putinin Saint Petersburg on July 13, 2021. Photo: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

Authorities in Belarus on Wednesday carried out more than 40 raids against the offices and homes of human rights activists and journalists, one day after the country’s authoritarian president said he would "deal with" non-governmental organizations he believes are fomenting unrest, AP reports.

Driving the news: The prominent Viasna human rights center was one of the offices targeted, in addition to other Belarusian NGOs and homes of activists.

  • The Viasna center has been monitoring human rights in Belarus for about a quarter-century, per AP. Authorities revoked its credentials in 2003 and arrested its leader in 2012.

The big picture: Last week, authorities conducted more than 30 raids targeting journalists and media organizations, as Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko continues his crackdown on the country's pro-democracy movement.

  • A total of 39 journalists are currently behind bars, either awaiting court appearances or convicted to prison terms, per AP.
  • Belarus’ State Security Committee said earlier this month it was conducting an operation to "purge radically-minded individuals."
  • Lukashenko on Tuesday vowed to bring to justice 1,500 NGOs and journalists he alleged were "funded from abroad" and "effectively promoting terror."

Catch up quick: Belarusians have been protesting against Lukashenko for nearly a year, after the man known as "Europe's last dictator" claimed a sixth term through a rigged election in August.

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