Belarusian authorities tighten grip on opposition during World Hockey Championships

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April 22, 2016 18:49

In preparation for the World Hockey Championships scheduled to take place in Minsk on May 9th - 25th, 2014, new hotels and sport facilities have been built, and visa requirements have been lifted for international fans.

The Championship is an important image-making and political event for President Lukashenko who aims to improve the outer world’s perception of the Belarusian authorities, and boost his own ratings inside the country. The Belarusian authorities count on people’s diplomacy and on impressing foreigners with Minsk’s cleanliness and order, and good event organisation. Meanwhile, the authorities have no plans to relax their grip on the opposition, and continue to ignore EU and US demands. Ahead of the presidential ‘troika’ Summit, Belarusian security forces have detained a few opposition activists. Some will be held in custody until the Championship is over. 

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