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Iran Press TV

In Minsk scuffle, Belarus police arrest hundreds of protesters

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 19 September 2020 4:43 PM

Police in the Belarus capital, Minsk, have reportedly arrested hundreds of protesters amid ongoing demonstrations by the supporters of the opposition against the backdrop of last month’s presidential election.

Citing witnesses, several reports said Saturday that some 2,000 people had gathered, calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, who won the election with 80 percent of the vote on August 9.

Protesters, most of them women, briefly scuffled with police. Officers then blocked their way, detaining the demonstrators.

Many protesters were arrested while trying to get detainees out of police vans.

The president’s opposition rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who alleged voting fraud and claimed that she had won the election, said in a statement ahead of the Saturday protest that she praised the “brave women of Belarus.”

"They are marching despite being constantly menaced and put under pressure," she said.

The opposition has called for another mass demonstration on Sunday.

Tikhanovskaya, who has fled to Lithuania, has been directing the protests from the neighboring country.

Several Western states have thrown their weight behind the opposition protests, threatening Lukashenko with sanctions.

The president has accused the opposition of attempting to stage a coup in the country. He has also expressed concern about foreign meddling in the internal affairs of Belarus.

Earlier this week, Lukashenko arrived in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It was Lukashenko’s first visit abroad after the controversial presidential election.

Putin has already advised the West against interfering in Belarus’ domestic affairs, and called for a peaceful resolution of the situation.

He has, however, noted that Russia might intervene if extremist elements would cross the red lines and engage in "banditry" under the pretext of seeking political reforms.

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