Belarusian media claim govt attack on their websites

MINSK, BELARUS: Belarusian independent media outlets are accusing the government of blocking their website less than a week before the presidential election.

Websites of the BelaPAN news agency and online publication have been unreachable since Saturday because of what is known as a distributed denial of service, or DDOS, attack. The publications said Monday their sites were attacked after they ran stories about university students being forced to go to a public prayer attended by President Alexander Lukashenko and his 12-year-old son.

Most Belarusian media are under either direct or indirect government control.

Belarusians go to the polls this Sunday to election their president. Authoritarian Lukashenko has been in office since 1994 and is widely expected to be re-elected.