Christians Concerned as Belarus Detains Dozens of Opposition Supporters

Monday, May 2, 2005

Monday, May 2, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center

MINSK/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)-- Dozens of opposition supporters were in jail Thursday, April 28, after a Belarusian court sentenced them for anti government protests, and Christians warned of more tensions in the troubled former Soviet republic. The defendants include Belarusians, five Ukrainians and two Russian journalists. They were taken into custody during rallies in the Belarus capital, Minsk, which were broken up by riot police forces, news reports said.

The demonstrators were protesting against the "authoritarian government" of President Alexander Lukashenko and calling for increased aid to Chernobyl victims Tuesday, April 26, when the country marked the 19th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

A 1986 explosion destroyed a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine and spread radiation over wide areas of Europe. However opposition supporters have suggested they now want to spread the radiation of political and religious freedom from examples such as Ukraine and Georgia, where Orange and Rose revolution eventually forced a change of government.


The United States has called Belarus one of the "outposts of tyranny" as the country borders the European Union and local missionaries have expressed concern about political instability. "Reports from native missionaries in Belarus confirm [that] believers continue to suffer under the most repressive religion law in Europe," said US-based Christian Aid, which supports indigenous missionaris worldwide.

In a statement to BosNewsLife News Center in Budapest it noted that the situation is "very difficult" for believers in Belarus. "They are not allowed to preach publicly; many churches must meet in secret."

The religious law was recently levied against charismatic New Life Church in Minsk, which has been forced to meet in an unused cowshed after being denied rental properties throughout the city, church sources say.


"Native missionaries ask for prayer in this troubling time. Though their ministries suffer underneath repressive laws, they continue to spread the light of Christ and draw their countrymen to Him, experiencing substantial church growth," Christian Aid said.

The Belarusian government has denied it cracks down on religion and Lukashenko recently told media that unlike other presidents in the region, he would not waver for any revolution "whatever the color." (With reports from Minsk and the United States and BosNewsLife Research)