“It's a new mopping-up operation against civil society,” he said.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists said that Aksana Kolb, the editor of the independent Novy Chas newspaper, was also detained on Wednesday.
The Belarusian authorities have conducted a relentless, multi-pronged crackdown on dissent following the massive anti-government protests that erupted after President Alexander Lukashenko was handed a sixth term, after an August 2020 presidential vote that was denounced as rigged by the opposition and the West.
Belarusian authorities responded with a wave of repression that saw more than 35,000 people arrested and thousands beaten by police. At least 1,127 people currently behind bars have been designated as political prisoners by human rights groups.
Lukashenko has held on to power amid bruising Western sanctions, relying on support from his main ally and sponsor Russia, which used Belarusian territory to launch an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
"Lukashenko is using repression to try to keep the situation under control as he faces growing discontent over the involvement in the war in Ukraine and a quick drop in living standards due to the sanctions," Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition candidate in the 2020 vote, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “But the Belarusians are continuing to protest even in these conditions.”