Picture used for illustrative purpose. File
Anonymous hackers leaked the personal data of 1,000 Belarusian police officers in retaliation for a crackdown on street demonstrations against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko, as protesters geared up for another mass rally on Sunday.
"As the arrests continue, we will continue to publish data on a massive scale," said a statement that was distributed by the opposition news channel Nexta Live on the messaging app Telegram. "No one will remain anonymous even under a balaclava."
The government said it would find and punish those responsible for leaking the data, which was widely distributed on Telegram channels on Saturday evening.
"The forces, means and technologies at the disposal of the internal affairs bodies make it possible to identify and prosecute the overwhelming majority of those guilty of leaking personal data on the Internet," said Olga Chemodanova, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The loyalty of the security forces is crucial to Lukashenko's ability to cling on to power following last month's presidential election, in which he claimed a landslide victory but his opponents say was rigged to hand the former Soviet collective farm boss a sixth term.
Security forces have detained thousands of people to tackle a wave of protests and strikes, their faces often obscured by masks, balaclavas or riot helmets. Some protesters have physically torn off the masks of some officers.
The government said 390 women were detained for taking part in a protest on Saturday against Lukashenko. Most have been released.
Lukashenko's crackdown on the protests has prompted the European Union to weigh fresh sanctions against his government.
Minsk reacted angrily on Saturday to reports that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leading opposition candidate in last month's election, could soon meet EU foreign ministers.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also criticised the EU for inviting Tsikhanouskaya to the ministerial meeting as well as for considering sanctions against Minsk, saying Brussels was trying to "rock the boat" in Belarus.
Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova was detained while trying to enter Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a Belarusian border official told Reuters, a day after her allies said she had been grabbed off the street by masked men.
Thousands demonstrated in the capital Minsk Saturday after main election challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya asked supporters to rally over the weekend and keep alive a movement that poses the biggest challenge to Lukashenko's hold over the ex-Soviet country.
Belarusians chanting "Step down!" filled the centre of the capital Minsk on Sunday in the biggest protest so far against what they said was the fraudulent re-election a week ago of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko.
Air travel from UAE to India is skyrocketing and is certain to create a big hole in travellers’ pockets.As schools close for summer vacations and Eid Al Adha is around the corner airlines have increased the fare by almost around 50%.
The cloud took an amazing shape, like a small child riding a bird, at the time when the sun was setting on Friday.
Saleh Al Ameri said, “I am proud of the mission's success, and I am proud to present this achievement to our wise leadership.”