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18 Oct, 2020 18:09

Belarus protests: Dozens detained by cops & rubber bullets fired during another large anti-opposition march in Minsk (VIDEOS)

Belarus protests: Dozens detained by cops & rubber bullets fired during another large anti-opposition march in Minsk (VIDEOS)

Thousands of people took to the streets of Minsk again on Sunday, as mass anti-government protests continued across the country. Sporadic scuffles erupted between demonstrators and police, with dozens reportedly detained.

The Belarusian capital has played host to weekly protests against the government of President Alexander Lukashenko, since a disputed presidential election in August. This Sunday, the procession was dubbed ‘The Partisan March’ by its organizers.

Tens of thousands marched through the city’s center, where they repeatedly ran into cordons erected by riot police and were forced to change course several times during the rally. 

Scuffles between protesters and police were reported. The most notable incident occurred outside the ‘Belarus’ shopping mall, where a group of protesters pelted officers’ vehicles with stones, police told Moscow news agency RIA Novosti. Law enforcement dispersed the group, firing rubber bullet shots into the air, as a warning. 

Mobile internet access was reportedly disrupted by the authorities across the capital for some four hours during the protest, with a number of subway stations also locked down. Internet access and transport links were restored after the march ended.

Belarus has experienced over two months of mass protests following the August 9 presidential elections. According to official figures, the country’s long-term leader Lukashenko secured a solid victory, receiving more than 80 percent of the ballot. The result, however, has been challenged by the opposition which has accused the authorities of gross falsifications.

Lukashenko’s main opponent on the day, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is now exiled in the EU, claimed that she actually received the majority of votes despite officially be awarded just over 10 percent. Since then, she has met a number of Western leaders and has even been recognized as the ‘legitimate’ president by Lithuania.

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After the election, the initial protests were marred by violence and a heavy-handed police response, with thousands arrested. Since then, however, the weekly rallies have become relatively peaceful while the number of demonstrators has gradually dwindled.

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