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Several protesters detained in Minsk

Police beef up security

MINSK, September 26. /TASS/. Belarusian law enforcement agencies detained several participants of an unauthorized rally in Minsk on Saturday dubbed "Race of Free People," Interior Ministry Spokesperson Natalya Ganusevich told TASS.

"I confirm that there are several detained participants of an unauthorized event, they will be taken to the district offices of the Internal Affairs in the framework of the administrative process," the spokesperson said.

Amid the rally declared by the opposition on Saturday police beefed up measures to maintain public order.

On Saturday, the Belarusian opposition plans to carry out women’s protest near the Victory Square. Eyewitnesses say police forces have been deployed to the area and a nearby metro station has been closed.

Belarus held the presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania. After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and police. The current unrest is being cheered on by the opposition’s Coordination Council, which has been beating the drum for more protests. In response, the Belarusian authorities have castigated the ongoing turmoil and demanded that these unauthorized demonstrations be stopped.

On September 23, state media reported that Lukashenko was sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony in his residence in Minsk, although its date had not been announced. Shortly after the opponents stepped up their protests.