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Belarusian opposition Twitter accounts suspended 'in error'

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By Matthew Holroyd
Belarusian opposition activists demonstrating at the Old Town Square in Prague in June.
Belarusian opposition activists demonstrating at the Old Town Square in Prague in June.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Petr David Josek
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Twitter has accidentally suspended the accounts of Belarusian opposition activists living in exile.

Profiles on Twitter representing opposition groups in Spain, Britain, and Germany were inactive on Friday.

Activists had claimed that the accounts were removed after they were accused of "identity theft" by the Belarusian regime of President Alexander Lukashenko.

But in a statement to Euronews, Twitter confirmed that the accounts had been mistakenly suspended and did not violate any company policy.

"We took enforcement action on the accounts referenced in error," a Twitter spokesperson said. "This has been reversed, and access to the accounts have been reinstated."

Since the disputed re-election of President Lukashenko in August 2020, Belarus has witnessed an unprecedented opposition movement.

Supporters of the opposition movement have created a number of accounts on Twitter known as the "Belarusian People's Embassies".

The accounts state that they "represent the interests of democratic Belarus" in various countries and "support the rights of Belarusian citizens abroad".

"The current regime in Belarus has no legal authority to [do so]," they add.

The owners of the accounts have also denied suggestions that they are fraudulently representing Belarus' official embassies.

"We are [the] People's Embassy of Belarus, supporting the interests of Belarus democratic majority and president-elect Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya," tweeted one account in Sweden.

"We are not affiliated with the illegal Lukashenko regime that occupies the territory of Belarus by brutal military force."

The account added that the graphics and description on the profiles also clearly indicate that they are not impersonating Belarus' official diplomatic missions.

There is no indication that Belarusian authorities were involved in the original suspension of the accounts.