KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – A prominent opposition activist in Belarus was detained at the border on Tuesday after resisting authorities’ attempt to force her to leave the country.
Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Coordination Council, an entity established by opposition activist after the general elections to facilitate dialogue with President Alexander Lukashenko on a transition of power, was detained on Monday in the capital Minsk, along with two other members.
Early on Tuesday, they were taken to the border, where authorities told them to cross into Ukraine. Kolesnikova refused and stayed on Belarusian territory in the custody of the authorities.
The other two members of the Council, Ivan Kravtsov and Anton Rodnenkov, crossed into Ukraine.
The authorities have applied similar tactics to other opposition figures, seeking to end a month of protests against Lukashenko’s re-election in a vote that protesters consider rigged.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition candidate, left for Lithuania one day after the August 9 elections under pressure from the authorities.
On Saturday, a prominent Tsikhanouskaya adviser, Olga Kovalkova, left for Poloniua after authorities threatened to keep her in prison for longer if she refused to leave the country.
The Belarusian prosecutor’s office opened a criminal investigation against members of the Coordination Council. Several have been arrested and others were summoned for questioning.
The Associated Press journalist Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.