Belarus police arrest 160 protestors calling for president’s ouster

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Police in Belarus arrested more than 160 protesters on Sunday who were calling for authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to resign, the Associated Press reports.

Hundreds of people gathered in Belarus’s capital city of Minsk, reports the AP, with many waving the red and white opposition flag.

Protests have taken place across the country continuously since the Aug. 9 election, with many viewing Lukashenko’s election for a sixth term as rigged.

More than 30,000 people have been detained in the six months since the election, the AP notes. 

“We witness a tough reaction from the authorities, but large numbers of people continue to turn out to protest despite the repressions and frigid cold,” Ales Bialitski, leader of the Viasna Human Rights Centre, told the AP.

The Trump administration imposed dozens of sanctions against Belarusian officials and offices in December in response to the alleged election fraud and human rights abuses. The administration had imposed other sanctions earlier in October, matching those imposed by the European Union, Britain and Canada.

“We stand with the brave people of Belarus and support their right to free and fair elections,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda in January. Tsikhanouskaya was forced to flee Belarus and live in Lithuania following her failed presidential bid.

Tags Alexander Lukashenko Belarus Mike Pompeo Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

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