Protest in solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus takes place in Dublin

The gathering was small in line with continuing coronavirus regulations which limit how many can meet in public.
Protest in solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus takes place in Dublin

By Rebecca Black, PA

A protest has taken place in Dublin in solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus.

It comes days after the dramatic arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich when the Ryanair passenger plane he was travelling in was diverted to Minsk by Belarusian flight controllers.

The demonstration on O’Connell Street on Saturday saw costumes, including the figure of Darth Vader, with the face of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, and calls to “stop the terror”.

Belarus protest
A figure of Darth Vader with the face of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Banners held included slogans such as “Pray for Belarus”, “Stop Terror In Belarus”, “Support The People of Belarus” and “Putin, hands off of Belarus… and take your dog” with a caricature of President Lukashenko.

Photographs of journalists and politicians who have been arrested in Belarus were placed on the ground during the demonstration.

There were also chants of Long Live Belarus and leaflets were handed out to passing members of the public.

Belarus protest
Members of the Belarusian community in Ireland take part in protest outside the GPO in Dublin. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Gardaí kept a low-key presence at the small gathering.

Strict rules remain over the size of public gatherings as part of the coronavirus regulations.

Belarus protest
Support for political prisoners including the recently arrested journalist Roman Protasevich. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

On Saturday, president Lukashenko appeared increasingly isolated over the diversion of the passenger flight following international outrage over the diverting of the Ryanair flight.

No bomb was found once the plane was on the ground, but the 26-year-old journalist was arrested along with his Russian girlfriend.

EU leaders responded by barring Belarusian carriers from the bloc’s air space and airports and advising European airlines to skirt Belarus.

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