Belarus authorities close off central square in Minsk, detain protesters

MOSCOW, Sept 13 – Authorities in Belarus used barbed wire to seal off a central square in the capital Minsk and started to detain protesters as they took to the streets for another march on Sunday following the country’s disputed elections last month.

A Reuters witness saw a column of people numbering at least 10,000 moving towards Independence Square on Sunday, where the government and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko sit.

On Saturday, at least 5,000 people had marched through the city demanding the release of a jailed opposition leader, in the latest in a wave of mass protests after the Aug 9 presidential vote.

A total of 114 people were held across the country last night, of which 99 were detained in the capital, the Interior Ministry said.

Oktyabrskaya Square in central Minsk was fenced off with barbed wire on Sunday, with armed law enforcement forces seen behind it, a Reuters witness said. Independence Square was also fenced off.

Citing the Minsk police, Russian state newsagency TASS said on Sunday that detentions had started in the capital ahead of the protests due from 1100 GMT.

One protester who gave her name as Tatiana told Reuters, “there were over 1,000 people in our group”.

Source (Reuters)

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