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Over 140 protesters detained in Belarus during Sunday’s protests, human rights center says

Most of them were detained in Minsk

MINSK, December 20. /TASS/. More than 140 people were detained during Sunday’s protests in Minsk and other Belarusian cities, the Vesna unregistered human rights center reported.

The list of those detained posted on Vesna’s website includes 146 names. Most of them were detained in Minsk. Detentions were also reported from Borisov, Borovlyany, Grodno, Novopolotsk, Smilovichi, and Soligorsk.

Spokeswoman for the Minsk police department Natalia Ganusevich said earlier in the day that about 100 people had been detained in Minsk during unauthorized rallies.

Protesters gathered in groups of from tens to hundreds in a number of Minsk’s dwelling quarters on Sunday. The police tried to stop their movement and disperse the protesters. The second Sunday in the row, the authorities did not close metro stations and block mobile communication during the protests.

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. The biggest protests are held in Minsk and a number of other cities on Sundays.