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Belarus expands crackdown on independent media





Authorities in Belarus raided the homes pgslot and offices of independent media outlets and civil society activists Friday, widening a crackdown on opposition in the ex-Soviet nation.


The Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Viasna human rights center said authorities searched the apartments and offices of at least 31 journalists and activists in the capital of Minsk and seven other cities.


“The authorities are using an entire arsenal of repressions against journalists — intimidation, beatings, searches and arrests,” Andrei Bastunets, the head of the journalists' association, said..


The country's main security agency, which still goes under its Soviet-era name KGB, said those targeted were suspected of involvement in “extremist activities.”


Among those targeted Friday were 22 journalists who worked for the Belsat TV channel, which is funded by Poland, and for U.S.-funded broadcaster RFE/RL. Authorities broke down the door of RFE/RL's office in Minsk.


RFE/RL journalist Aleh Hruzdzilovich was detained after the search of his family's home, his wife, Maryana, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Minsk.

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