Belarus: Thousands of People Protest Death of Teacher in Police Custody | World news

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Thousands of Belarusians have protested the death in police custody of an army veteran and a children’s art teacher arrested for his opposition to authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko.Roman Bondarenko, a 31-year-old artist, was clubbed by several men suspected of being undercover police officers in a Minsk courtyard known as the Square of Change on Wednesday during a row over ribbons indicating support for the protests anti-government.

Bondarenko, who allegedly hit his head on the ground in the attack, was later arrested and taken in a van, and taken into police custody. When his family finally found him, he was in a coma in a city hospital, where he died of brain damage on Thursday.

The government has washed its hands of the incident, saying Bondarenko’s injuries were sustained in a street brawl between the government and opposition supporters.

His family are convinced that he was beaten in detention after his arrest, with a relative saying that “everything that happened to him happened after the square”.

“I am filming this video so that more people know what is happening in this country, that people are absolutely defenseless,” said Olga Kuchurenko, a relative, in a video posted by Radio Svoboda.

Belarus has been rocked by the biggest protests in its history after Lukashenko claimed victory in the August elections marred by widespread electoral fraud.

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