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AP

Belarus leader vows to keep up raids of NGOs, media outlets

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The longtime leader of Belarus vowed Thursday to continue a crackdown on civil society activists he regards as “bandits and foreign agents.” President Alexander Lukashenko chided officials in his administration Thursday for allowing the operation of non-governmental organizations that he called “harmful to the state.” He said, “Do you think it’s easy? There are thousands of our people working for them, and their brains are distorted and brainwashed with foreign money.” Belarusian authorities have ramped up raids and arrests of independent journalists and civil society activists in recent weeks. The Viasna human rights center said the country’s law enforcement agencies have conducted more than 200 searches of offices and apartments of journalists and activists this month..

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