Belarusian authorities declare activists behind popular Polish-based opposition NEXTA Telegram channel to be 'extremist formation'
The Belarusian Interior Ministry has declared the group of people behind the popular Telegram channel NEXTA to be an 'extremist formation,' a year after Minsk's Central Court condemned it for sharing 'extremist materials.'
The decision means that the work of NEXTA is now officially prohibited, along with the activities of Telegram channels NEXTA Live and LUXTA, run by the same group. In total, they have around 1,460,000 subscribers. The decision means that the people running the channels could be held criminally liable as extremists.
NEXTA became a highly influential voice for opposition protesters in Belarus last year when it was used to coordinate demonstrations, following the country's presidential election, officially won by incumbent Alexander Lukashenko. It also shared videos of police brutality and the violent suppression of opposition marches.Also on rt.com Belarus threatens citizens with SEVEN YEARS behind bars just for following opposition social media accounts & news sites online
Last year, a Minsk court banned NEXTA's logo and materials, deeming them extremist. The authorities also declared that both its founder and editor were wanted after calling for "protests, blocking roads, strikes, and coordinated unauthorized mass events by indicating specific locations and routes of movement."
One of the men, NEXTA founder Stepan Putilo, now lives in Poland and studies at the University of Silesia in Katowice. The other man put on the wanted list, Roman Protasevich, had a completely different fate.
In May, Protasevich and his girlfriend, Russian-born Sofia Sapega, were detained after a plane they were flying on was forcefully grounded in Minsk, after a false bomb threat was conveyed by Belarusian air traffic control to the pilot of a Ryanair flight. At the end of June, they were transferred to house arrest.
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