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Belarus police detain hundreds at women protest

AFP/Minsk
Filed on September 19, 2020 | Last updated on September 19, 2020 at 07.56 pm
Lukashenko, Belarus, Minsk
Anti-riot police officers arrest a woman demonstrating during a rally to protest against the presidential election results in Minsk on Saturday.

(AFP)

The rally was the latest in a series of all-women protests demanding an end to President Lukashenko's rule following his disputed victory in elections last month

Riot police on Saturday detained hundreds of women as opposition protesters marched through the Belarusian capital Minsk demanding an end to President Alexander Lukashenko's rule.

Around two thousand women took part in the "Sparkly March", wearing shiny accessories and carrying red-and-white flags of the protest movement.

Police blocked the women and began dragging them into police vans as they stood with linked hands, swiftly detaining several hundred, an AFP journalist saw.

The march was the latest in a series of all-women protests calling for the strongman to leave following his disputed victory in elections last month.

His opposition rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya also claimed the victory.

In a statement released ahead of the march, Tikhanovskaya, who has taken refuge in Lithuania, praised the "brave women of Belarus".

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

Among those detained Saturday was Nina Baginskaya, a 73-year-old activist who has become one of the best-known faces of the protest movement. Police released her outside a police station shortly afterwards.

Police detained so many protesters that they ran out of room in vans, releasing around 10 women.

Ambulances were called after several women became unwell during the detentions.

The opposition is due to hold mass demonstrations on Sunday.


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