Belarus blocks access to popular opposition website

MINSK, Belarus — Belarusian authorities have blocked access to a popular opposition website over alleged legal violations.

The Information Ministry said Thursday the move came after charter97.org, which features news and commentaries on Belarus, published material that violated the law on mass media. It didn't offer any specifics.

The website's editor, Natalia Radina, said from its office in Warsaw, Poland that the shutdown marks another attempt by the Belarusian government to stifle dissent.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists denounced the move as an "unacceptable violation of freedom of speech" and demanded that the government explain the motives behind its decision.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has ruled the ex-Soviet nation of 10 million with an iron hand for 23 years, showing little tolerance to dissent and independent media.

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