More than 200 people have been arrested, a rights group said Sunday, as Belarusians continued to protest longtime President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk.
Thousands of people took to the streets to demand Lukashenko’s resignation. According to rights watchdog Vesna-96, 205 people had been taken into custody, despite activists’ efforts to decentralize protests in hopes of evading police.
Weekly rallies have been held since disputed presidential elections on Aug. 9 in which long-term leader Lukashenko retained power in a vote seen by international observers as not fair or transparent and in which key opposition leaders were detained or forced to flee. The protests have led to more than 7,500 arrests and police violence against demonstrators.
Street protests regained momentum after a 31-year-old anti-government demonstrator died earlier this month. Activists say he was severely beaten by security forces during a rally.
Lukashenko has been in power 26 years and is refusing calls to step down. Lukashenko maintains he won the election in a landslide — garnering 80% of all ballots — despite widespread claims at home and abroad that the vote was heavily rigged to keep him in power.