Authorities in Belarus have arrested one of the last leading members of an opposition council still free in the country and attempted to enter the Minsk apartment of the Nobel prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich.

Unidentified men in ski masks on Wednesday seized Maxim Znak from the office of the country’s opposition coordination council and dragged him out of the building. His associate, Gleb German, said Znak, a lawyer and a member of the body’s presidium, had time to text message “masks” before his phone was grabbed.

Alexievich is now the only member of the council’s seven-person leadership body not in prison or in exile. She said unknown men rang her bell at about 9am local time. It was unclear if they had come to take her away. Alexievich later allowed EU diplomats into her home and spoke to journalists.

She said her “like-minded” friends from the presidium were now either behind bars or had been “thrown out of the country”. Znak was the last one, she said. She suggested, however, that the brutal tactics of Belarus’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, to “kidnap the best of us” would not work and that the protest movement would continue.

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