Thousands of Belarusians protest against disputed elections

Thousands of Belarusians protest against disputed elections in Minsk. Opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko have gathered due to anger over alleged poll-rigging and police brutality.

The “March for Freedom” in the center of the capital comes amidst growing anger against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Meanwhile, in an address to a smaller crowd of several thousand, Mr Lukashenko blasted opponents as “rats”.

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The rallies by rivals were taking place after Russia agreed to offer security assistance in the case of external military threats to Belarus. It emerged that Mr. Lukashenko had twice spoken to President Vladimir Putin over the weekend.

The long-time Belarus leader also voiced concerns over NATO military exercises taking place in neighboring Poland and Lithuania and launched into a tirade against the Western military alliance.

Thousands of Belarusians protest over NATO build-up in the region

NATO – who sent four battle groups led by Britain, Canada, Germany, and the US to the Baltic countries after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in Ukraine – rejected allegations of a build-up in the region.

Furthermore, the unrest in Belarus erupted after Mr. Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in last Sunday’s election, the result of which has been condemned amid widespread allegations of vote-rigging.

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