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Two-day rally in protest against closer integration with Russia ends in Minsk

Opposition activists agreed to hold another rally on December 20

MINSK, December 8. /TASS/. An unauthorized opposition rally protesting against closer integration with Russia, the second one of this weekend, has ended in Minsk. No one was detained, no violations of public order were reported.

The rally lasted for five hours, like the one on Saturday. Several hundred opposition activists gather on Minsk’s central Oktyabrskaya Square at noon, holding nationalist white-red-white flags. The rally adopted a resolution protesting against the Russian-Belarusian integration roadmaps. The protesters called on the international community to demonstrate solidarity with the Belarusians.

After that, the protesters marched down to the Russian embassy, handed over the rally’s resolution to Russian diplomats and returned back to the square.

Opposition activists agreed to hold another rally on December 20, when the two countries’ presidents are scheduled to have another meeting on the integration agenda.

Activists claim that closer integration with Russia could entail negative consequences for Belarus. In his address to the Belarusian lawmakers, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko vowed that be country’s authorities would never cede the country’s independence and sovereignty. He stressed that Belarus would never be part of any state, even "brotherly Russia."

December 8 marks the 20th anniversary of the Russian-Belarusian Union State Treaty that was signed by the two countries’ presidents. The document came into force following the exchange of ratification papers on December 26, 2000. Currently, the countries are agreeing 31 roadmaps on closer integration, with 20 of them being ready for signing.

On December 7, the two countries president, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, held hours-long talks on integration-related problems in Russia’s Balck Sea resort city of Sochi. They agree to continue dialogue on December 20.