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Number of detained protesters in Belarus tops 580

MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. More than 580 people were detained by law enforcement officers at protests held across Belarus on Sunday, Vesna unregistered human rights center said.

The updated list published on the human rights center’s website now includes 585 names. Among those detained is architect Nikita Domrachev, brother of Darya Domracheva, Belarusian biathlete and a four-time Olympic champion. Besides, over 40 journalists covering the protests were apprehended on Sunday and most of them have been released shortly.

The protests took place in Berezovka, Brest, Bobruysk, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, Zhlobin, Kobrin, Mogilev, Molodechno, Pruzhany and Soligorsk. The opposition also attempted to hold a "Pride March" in Minsk, but the security forces thwarted a large-scale event.

Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. 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.