Hundreds of people protesting against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who won a sixth term in the disputed Aug. 9 vote, have been taken into custody, the country’s Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday.
Spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova said in a statement that “illegal” protests were held in 19 different places across the country on Sunday, and the police took the necessary measures to maintain law and order.
The demonstrators, she said, blocked traffic in the capital Minsk, injured two police officers, and stoned the Minsk police department building, adding that “aggressors” have been detained.
“A total of 523 people who violated the law, 160 of whom were in Minsk, were detained during the protests,” she said.
Mass protests are continuing since main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who now lives in Lithuania, opposed the results, claiming the vote was rigged.
Oct. 25 was the final day of the opposition’s ultimatum for Lukashenko to step down or face a general strike.
Both the US and EU have rejected the presidential election, and imposed sanctions against top Belarusian officials for their role in vote manipulation and a crackdown on protesters.
The veteran president, in power since 1994, relies on ally Russia for political and economic support.
*Writing by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak
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