900 arrested in protest in Belarus


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – A human rights group in Belarus said that more than 900 people were arrested on Sunday in protests across the country calling for authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to step down.

The demonstrations continued a wave of almost daily protests that have rocked Belarus since the beginning of August. In the capital Minsk, police wiped out clubs and used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse thousands of protesters.

The Visna Human Rights Organization reported demonstrations in other cities, including Vitebsk and Gomel. It added that the nationwide arrests totaled 928 and that some of those detained were beaten by the police.

Several protesters carried placards in praise of an opposition supporter, Raman Bandaraneka, who died after beating him in police custody on Thursday.

A widespread wave of protests, some attracting more than 100,000 people, broke out after the November 9 presidential election, with official results saying Lukashenko served a sixth term in office. The opposition and some poll activists say the results were manipulated.

Lukashenko, who repressed the opposition and the independent media during 26 years in power, refused to negotiate with the opposition, alleging that the protests were provoked by Western countries.

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