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13 Sep, 2020 21:07

Hundreds arrested in Minsk as protesters aim for elite district where Lukashenko’s top officials live

Hundreds arrested in Minsk as protesters aim for elite district where Lukashenko’s top officials live

Protesters in Minsk attempted to make their way to the elite district where top Belarusian government officials reside, but were met by a large police force on the way. At least 400 people were arrested during Sunday's protests.

Thousands of people took part in Sunday's protest against President Alexander Lukashenko, which the pro-opposition social media dubbed "the march of heroes." Instead of starting in the center of the capital like most previous rallies, Sunday’s march aimed for the posh Drozdy district, which hosts the houses of the country's top politicians and business figures, including one of the residences of President Lukashenko.

Telegram channels coordinating the protests notably leaked the addresses of several officials ahead of the march, with the protesters being encouraged to "pay them a visit."

However, when the column of demonstrators approached the turn to Drozdy, they were met with a massive police force in riot gear cordoning off the way with fences.

Meanwhile, footage shot near Lukashenko's official residence not far off from the scene showed armored vehicles and barbed wire deployed in anticipation of the ‘march of heroes.’

Videos showed protesters being repelled and redirected, with many marching on in the direction of the residential area.

Another clip surfaced on social media showing a masked man in civilian clothing shooting his pump rifle into the air and demonstrators fleeing.

The Interior Ministry initially denied the reports of gunshots, but then said that one of its officers was forced to use the weapon to prevent "illegal action" by the protesters, who tried to stop law enforcers from making an arrest.

The crowd spent around an hour outside Lukashenko's residence, chanting anti-government slogans but remaining peaceful. After apparently realizing that the elite district was off limits, the demonstrators moved out to the central part of the city.

The police made numerous arrests in several parts of Minsk during the day. At least 400 people were detained, according to a police spokeswoman.

Also on rt.com Belarus unrest continues: Arrests & scuffles after opposition ‘women’s march’ met with police cordon in Minsk (VIDEOS)

Large-scale protests have been taking place in Belarus since the contested election on August 9, in which Lukashenko won his sixth term as president, claiming 80 percent of the vote. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who has since fled to Lithuania, insists that she gained more votes and that the count was rigged.

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