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We prevented an attempt at a revolution in Belarus, says country's foreign minister

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei in Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei in Moscow   -   Copyright  HANDOUT/AFP or licensors
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Belarus' government say they have avoided an attempted revolution, the country's foreign minister said at a press conference in Russia on Wednesday.

Vladimir Makei made the comments as demonstrations continue in Minsk over the August 9 presidential election.

It saw long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko claim victory in a vote that critics say was rigged in his favour.

Makei, speaking alongside his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, said: "We prevented an attempt at a colour revolution in our country."

It comes after Lavrov criticised the US and NATO for making "destructive" statements on the situation in Belarus.

Mass protests

The country is now into its fourth week of protests since the disputed election, that brought widespread incredulity as official results gave Lukashenko a landslide victory with 80% of the vote.

On Tuesday dozens of protesters and some journalists were detained as students took to the streets to demand that the authoritarian leader step down.

Belarus authorities have moved to threats of legal action and detention in an attempt to contain the unrest. Organisers of factory demonstrations have been detained, and legal proceedings brought against members of an opposition-led council.

It marks a change of tactics by the government, which has avoided the large-scale violence against protesters witnessed amid the ferocious crackdown immediately after the election.

New party

Some opposition activists have announced the creation of a new party, "Together". It brought criticism from some who fear it could divert attention from the main goal of ousting Lukashenko.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main election challenger to the president who fled to Lithuania in the aftermath, described it as "a good idea, but maybe not at the right time".

Last week she told Euronews that protesters and the opposition wanted free and fair elections, but that she would not stand and saw herself as a temporary leader.

Russia condemns 'destructive' criticism

Facing Western pressure, Lukashenko has vowed to cement ties with Russia, which has a union treaty with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week he stands ready to send police to Belarus at Lukashenko’s request if the demonstrations turn violent, but added that there was no need for that yet.

During a visit to Moscow on Wednesday, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei thanked Russia for supporting the Belarusian government in the face of what he described as protests orchestrated from abroad.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticised what he described as “destructive” Western criticism of the Belarusian authorities. Asked if Moscow plans to have contacts with the Belarusian opposition, Lavrov said that would not happen until the Coordination Council formulates a platform that conforms with Belarusian law.

He also noted that some council members have spoken against close ties with Russia.