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Police break up Belarus protests

30/06/11 00:33 CET

Hundreds of people took to the streets of the Belarus capital Minsk on Wednesday to protest against the rule of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Unrest has been growing in the ex-Soviet republic since the onset of a severe economic crisis that has seen the rouble devalued by some 36 percent coupled with rampant inflation.

Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, has warned opposition leaders that he will hit hard against those who oppose his policies.
As with previous demonstrations, those against Lukashenko paraded through the streets without banners or chanting, they simply applauded in unison.

Reports suggest 20 people were forced onto police buses, while rights group Vesna-96 say 40 were detained.

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