More than 300 detained by police in Belarus protests

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus holds an old Belarusian national flag during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The Belarusian human rights group Viasna says more than 140 people have been arrested and many of them beaten by police during protests calling for the country’s authoritarian president to resign. The demonstrations that attracted thousands were the 16th consecutive Sunday of large protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. (AP Photo)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Belarusian human rights group Viasna says that more than 300 people were arrested and many of them beaten by police during protests calling for the country’s authoritarian president to resign.

The demonstrations that attracted thousands were the 16th consecutive Sunday of large protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.

There have been near-daily protests since early August, but those on Sundays have been the largest.

Protests have gripped Belarus since the Aug. 9 presidential election that official results say gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office, but that the opposition and some poll workers say were manipulated.

Throughout the protest wave, more than 19,000 people have been detained and thousands of them beaten, human rights advocates say.

The protesters on Sunday tried to dilute detentions and police dispersals by initially gathering in various parts of the capital Minsk, but were met by police when they tried to converge on the center. Police used stun grenades to turn them back and began widescale detentions.

Protests also took place held in other cities on Sunday. Viasna said at least 304 people were arrested throughout the country.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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