Belarus shuts more civil society groups



Belarusian authorities on Friday announced the closure of 15 nongovernmental organizations, part of a sweeping crackdown on civil society activists and independent media.

The groups ordered to close include the Human Constanta human rights center, the Names charity organization, BelSetka Anti-AIDS group and an organization assisting disabled people.

The groups’ closure comes a day after authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko vowed to continue what he called a “mopping-up operation” against civil society activists whom he denounced as “bandits and foreign agents.”

Human Constanta said in a statement that the authorities didn’t explain why they decided to close the group, adding that the action reflects a “growing pressure on civil society in Belarus.”–AP


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