Freedom of Expression: The secular alternative
Attacks on free expression do not just come from the religious fringes, as Orwell understood. Belarus descends into tyranny, from The Times:
Lukashenko, who has ruled his impoverished country of 10m since 1994, issued a decree last year giving himself the power to order troops to fire on unarmed civilians. He looks unlikely to give up without a fight.
In what many saw as a dress rehearsal for today's demonstration, snipers were positioned around the square for the first time last month during a mass gathering of regional politicians loyal to his regime.
The election campaign has been anything but fair. Dozens of opposition leaders and youth activists critical of the president — a mustachioed former prison guard and communist collective farm boss — have been harassed, badly beaten and arrested by police.
At an opposition rally last week on Minsk's outskirts, the two front rows were filled by burly security services men with shaved heads and leather jackets. They were the only ones not to clap the speakers.
To prevent people joining the protests, services to train stations and bus stops around October Square will be suspended from this morning. Tens of thousands of police officers are expected to seal off streets leading to the square.