On January 28, a solidarity chain along Gedimin Avenue in Vilnius served as a reminder of those affected by recent raids and detentions in Belarus, Belsat reports. Several dozen people lined up in a chain in the center of Vilnius to express their solidarity with the relatives of political prisoners who were subjected to searches and detentions.
From January 23, KGB officers conducted mass searches, interrogations and detentions throughout Belarus. They targeted relatives of political prisoners, as well as former political prisoners who had been recently released and remained in the country.
The formal grounds for the KGB’s actions appeared to be the support provided to the families of political prisoners by the INeedHelpBY initiative, which, like many other organizations, was recently branded an “extremist group” by the authorities. The search warrants listed such articles of the Criminal Code as “financing extremist activities” and “participation in an extremist formation.”
According to Viasna, at least 185 people have already become victims of persecution during the mass raid.