EU backs Warsaw's protest against persecution of Poles in Belarus

The European Union has demanded the immediate release of detained Polish minority leaders in Belarus, the head of the Polish Prime Minister's office has said.

"For the first time, the EU joins in the defence of Poles in Belarus," Dworczyk wrote in a Twitter post on Friday. "Every repressed Pole on the other side of our eastern border can count on Poland's support."

Belarusian authorities have arrested Andzelika Borys, head of a Polish diaspora organisation, and three senior members of the organisation, while other Polish activists have also been persecuted. Borys was detained for 15 days for "organising an illegal mass event," a traditional annual fair for the Polish diaspora.

Apart from the EU, Poland's protest has also been supported by the US and Lithuania.

Also on Friday, Polish President Andrzej Duda met with representatives of the Belarusian diaspora in Poland. Wojciech Kolarski, a presidential aide, said there were no negative emotions between Poles and Belarusians.

According to Kolarski, the talks focused on demographic problems and infrastructural investments as well as co-funding by the Polish government of cultural and social initiatives organised by the Belarusian minority.