Belarusian protest leader detained while trying to leave country
Authorities say they have arrested in opposition leader on the country's border with Ukraine. But Maria Kalashnikov, US supporters say the government was trying to forcibly deport her and silence. Another critic of President Alexander Lukashenko. Kolesnikova was reportedly first picked up on the streets of Minsk on Monday by plainclothes police. She's been helping lead massive protests in Belarus since last month when President Lukashenko won a disputed reelection. He's been president of the country for more than a quarter century. For more on this arrest and what it means for Lukashenko's control. We're joined now by Hana Ahora. She's director of United Mass. Media and Association representing newspapers and new sites in Belarus. Welcome Hello. It's a pleasure to meet you today. Well, it's a pleasure to have you so there are two stories about what happened at the border. Do we know whether Kolesnikova was fleeing? As the government says she is or Was the government just trying to remove her from the country as faras. We know Maria didn't want to leave the country at all. So she was forced to go to the border, but then on the border, she just tore her passport in the small pieces, and she didn't refused to go to Ukraine. So as far as you know, Maria is still in Belarus, but nobody knows for sure. Where exactly Okay, Well, these protests have been going on for a month now. Lukashenko's government has rounded up thousands of demonstrators and recently it's tried targeting opposition leaders. How is that tactic working so far? Every step off the brutal detention or any kind of violence toward citizens is making our protests bigger and wider, say, still continuing to ask for the very simple things to have new friend for elections and to stop the brutality and violence on the means can belittle since treats and, of course to release the prisoners. So people are not going to stop it right now, despite on old effects for authorities actions Well, as we've said, Luca Shango has managed to hold on to power for quite some time for 26 years. He controls the media, the army, the economy, the secret police. Do people in Belarus genuinely believe that they can displace him with peaceful marches. It's a very heart and the good question. People still want to keep practiced peaceful. They don't see any other solution. Right now. They want to demonstrate that their wide majority so Unfortunately, we don't have any other tools to change situation from it from inside. Do you feel like you are living in a democracy? Unquestioned, cannot hear living not in democracy at all. It's like Like were occupied by military forces, and all the craziness is going on Every single Dave and people from different profession. Occupations are just detained. Arrested being at home. You don't feel any Anything safe here, So it's a lot of fear in society. But we understand that it's very difficult to stop. If you will stop you lose everything and all the victims will be for nothing.