When Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a Ryanair flight to divert to Minsk and arrested a wanted dissident who was on board, opposition activists inside the country were shocked and frightened.
The mass protests that started last summer have been crushed, with fear driving people from the streets.
But the authorities still round up anyone linked to the opposition movement and hundreds of people are now behind bars.
Sarah Rainsford and Matthew Goddard have just returned from Minsk where they spoke to some of those whose lives have been changed for good by the protests.
Correspondent: Sarah Rainsford
Shot / edited by Matthew Goddard