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Explosion in Belarus injures 40: police

    20 January 2021 Wednesday

    About 40 people were injured by an explosive device that was detonated in Belarus' capital a little after midnight (2100 GMT) on Friday during a concert celebrating Independence Day, police and witnesses said."About 40 people have received injuries of various levels, but there are no dead," a police official said. "Most likely this device was set off with hooligan motives. Investigative groups are on the scene now," he said.

    One eyewitness told Reuters that he saw nuts and bolts around the area of the explosion.

    "I heard a loud explosion and there was black smoke," said 28-year-old Sergey, who did not give his second name. "People started shouting. No one stopped the concert. They just isolated the place around the explosion and emergency vehicles began coming."

    A similar explosion occurred in 2005, when a home-made device injured 46 people in the northern city of Vitebsk.

    Ex-Soviet Belarus, sandwiched between Russia and three European Union states, has been ruled by President Alexander Lukashenko with an iron grip since the mid-1990s.

    While the West has strongly criticized his regime, he remains broadly popular within the country of 10 million.

    (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; writing by Sabina Zawadzki)


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