When Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered a Ryanair plane to divert to Minsk and arrested a wanted defector on board, opposition activists inside the country were shocked and frightened.
The mass street protests that began last summer were quelled as fear drove people off the streets.
But the authorities still arrest anyone linked to the opposition movement and hundreds of people are now behind bars.
Sarah Rainford and Matthew Goddard have just returned from Minsk where they talk to some of those whose lives have been forever changed by the protests.
Reporter: Sarah Rainford
Shot / Edited by Matthew Goddard