KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Club-swinging police went to the capital of Belarus after protesters demanding the resignation of the country’s authoritarian president on Sunday, the 90th day of protests.
Human rights activists said around 400 people were arrested.
Thousands of protesters tried to enter the center of Minsk from many directions, but police cordoned off the area with armored vehicles and phalanx of riot officers and prevented protesters from gathering in one place.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists said that at least nine journalists were detained. Human rights organization Visna said that at least 389 people were arrested in all, including the famous model Olga Khizhinkova, a former Miss Belarus.
The wave of protests, unprecedented in their size and duration, began after the August 9 election that official results say President Alexander Lukashenko served a sixth term in office. The opposition and some poll activists say the results were manipulated.
Lukashenko, who has been suppressing the opposition and the independent news media since coming to power in 1994, has refused to negotiate with opponents, alleging that Western countries have provoked protests.
His chief election challenger, Siwatlana Tsikonskaya, who fled to Lithuania under pressure from authorities after the election, hoped Sunday that the election of US President Joe Biden would put pressure on Lukashenko.
“Joe Biden has spoken more than once and has taken a firm place of support for the Belarusian people,” she said.
He also asked the protesters to continue the protest.
“We have stood against chaos and violence for 90 days. In these 90 days, Belarusis understood the regime that they had lost legitimacy and authority, ”she said.
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