Clinton decries Belarus crackdown at democracy talks

July 1, 2011 12:31


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VILNIUS - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the repression of peaceful protests in Belarus on Friday as she urged nations to support fledgling democratic movements in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere.

Speaking at a pro-democracy gathering in Vilnius, about 160 km (100 miles) from the Belarussian capital of Minsk, Clinton recalled Lithuania's fight against Soviet domination, saying democracies had a special responsibility to help the oppressed.

"We should speak out when countries like Belarus brutally represses the rights of its citizens or where we see opposition figures facing politically motivated prosecution, or governments refusing to register political parties," she said.

While she did not cite them by name, Clinton appeared to be alluding to a trial that got under way on Wednesday against former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on charges of abuse of power as well as to Russia's refusal last month to register the Party of People's Freedom, or PARNAS.

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