Belarusian opposition leader Milinkevich detained in Minsk

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MINSK, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - The leader of the Belarusian opposition movement 'For Freedom' has been detained in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, the movement's press service said on Monday.

Police stopped Alexander Milinkevich and his associates in downtown Minsk.

"They were heading for a protest by businessmen due to be held in Minsk's Oktyabrskaya Square," the source said.

Milinkevich called his head office and said he and his associates had been put in separate rooms in a police station. He told his office that they had been held in connection with the so-called "entrepreneurs rally" that paralyzed central Minsk on January 10.

The businessmen had demanded that a presidential decree banning the hiring of labor except close relatives be annulled. In line with the law, otherwise self-employed small business owners entrepreneurs would have to be registered as private enterprises. Taxes would then be subsequently much higher for them.

Opposition movement members have been unable to reach Milinkevich on his cell phone.

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