Belarus: Tens of thousands rally in opposition march, dozens held
The situation in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, is tense as tens of thousands of Belarus protesters join an opposition rally against the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Police detained 125 protesters during Sunday’s rally, Russian news agency RIA reported, citing Russia’s interior ministry.
Independence Square in the centre of the city was sealed off with metal barriers and guarded by security forces as the Belarusian interior ministry warned citizens not to take part in Sunday’s “unauthorised” rally.
The pro-democracy movement ignored the threats and said Lukashenko should see that people were against him as he celebrates his 66th birthday on Sunday.
The movement added that after ruling for 26 years, his time in power was up.
Despite the presence of a heavy security force, protesters packed the centre of Minsk with crowds waving the opposition’s red and white flag and chanting “Leave”.
On the last two Sundays, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets of Belarus to protest against Lukashenko, who has been dubbed “Europe’s last dictator”.
The protests are the largest and most sustained challenge of Lukashenko’s years in office, during which he consistently repressed opposition and independent news media.