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The Government of the Republic of Belarus has announced it will be closing its embassy in Canada, just as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Belarusian authorities and said Canadian officials are contemplating further actions over the forced diversion of a passenger jet to arrest a dissident journalist. The embassy will be suspending its activity on Sept. 1, 2021, though consular services such as processing visa applications and other documents will be halted as of July 10, authorities announced Tuesday. Trudeau called Belarus’ actions “outrageous, illegal, and completely unacceptable.” He said the Canadian government is calling for Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich to be released immediately. “This was a clear attack on democracy and the freedom of the press,” Trudeau said of this weekend’s events. A Ryanair flight that Protasevich was on was forced to divert due to a report of a bomb threat against it as it crossed through Belarus airspace while flying from Greece to Lithuania. A Belarusian fighter jet then escorted the plane and, after landing, the 26-year-old activist, journalist, and critic of President Alexander Lukashenko was arrested.

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