Belarus protests: Maria Kolesnikova ‘detained by masked men’

(DW) – Unidentified men in black wearing masks have reportedly grabbed Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova off the street on Monday, driving her away in a minibus.

Kolesnikova is a campaign partner of opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who claimed victory against President Alexander Lukashenko in the August 9 presidential election. Protesters have disputed the election results, with tens of thousands marching against the president since the vote. Kolesnikova is a vocal critic of Lukashenko and has played a vital role during the weeks of demonstrations.

Read more: Maria Kolesnikova: The Belarus opposition leader eyeing fair elections

Witnesses say Kolesnikova was seized in central Minsk and bundled into a bus labelled “Communications.” Her phone was also apparently switched off.

The Coordination Council said Kolesnikova had been “kidnapped by unknown people in central Minsk,” along with a spokesman and executive secretary.

“Their whereabouts are unknown,” it said, accusing Lukashenko’s regime of “openly using methods of terror.”

The Coordination Council has demanded the immediate release of the detainees and the return of other activists who were pressured into leaving Belarus.

Local journalist Hanna Liubakova wrote on Twitter that her Coordination Council colleague Anton Radniankou could also not be reached.

By News784

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