European diplomats have visited the home of Svetlana Alexievich, possibly the last remaining member of the opposition Coordination Council to remain free. They came in a show of solidarity after the Nobel prize winner had told friends and journalists that masked men had tried to break into her home, presumably to arrest her.

Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign minister, tweeted a picture of the author at home in Minsk surrounded by European diplomats on Wednesday morning. A Lithuanian diplomat at the flat said envoys from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden were there.

Earlier in the day, Maxim Znak, a 39 year-old lawyer who represented jailed presidential candidate Viktor Babaryko, was marched from his home by masked men in civilian clothes. He had time to text the word ‘masks’ before his phone was taken from him.

On Monday Mr Znak had told the BBC that he was pretending to be calm, but “actually I’m very concerned and scared.”

Meanwhile, the undoubted winner of the August 9 presidential poll in Belarus, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, held talks in Warsaw and gave a speech at a university. She called for demonstrations to remain peaceful and for the immediate release of all political prisoners.