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Anti-government rallies held across Belarus despite regime threats

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP
Anti-government rallies held across Belarus despite regime threats
Copyright  AP Photo

Thousands of people once more took to the streets of the Belarusian capital Minsk on Sunday as ongoing anti-government protests showed no sign of fading away.

The marches have become a weekly occurrence since the disputed electoral victory of President Alexander Lukashenko on 9 August.

Similar rallies are held across the country but the protests in Minsk are the largest, attracting up to 200,000 people according to organisers.

Riot police and military vehicles were earlier deployed in the capital in preparation for the protest and news agencies report that a number of people were detained at Sunday's rally.

The demonstrators are demanding that Lukashenko, who's been in power for over 25 years, step down, but he's refusing and has threatened that security forces could open fire on protesters.

The leading opposition candidate in the August election, Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa, claimed victory in the poll.

After the vote, she fled to Lithuania under pressure from the regime.

Along with other opposition figures Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo, she's been nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.