Belarusian police arrested dozens throughout avenue protests

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Belarusian opposition supporters hold a rally in Minsk

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Police in Belarus on Sunday arrested dozens of people in Minsk who were demonstrating against Alexander Lukashenko, the leader of the former Soviet country. This was reported by a witness and several media reported.

The witness said the police used rubber bullets against the protesters. Interfax News Agency said police used tear gas to disperse the crowd near Pushkinskaya metro station.

According to the witness, mobile internet has also failed across the city.

Belarus is in a political crisis as tens of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets every week since the August elections, calling on Lukashenko to resign after 26 years in power. Lukashenko has rejected the opposition’s allegations that the election was manipulated in his favor.

Thousands of people have been arrested and rights groups say hundreds of detainees have been beaten and other ill-treatment.

The street rallies were re-ignited after the death of a 31-year-old anti-government protester, Roman Bondarenko, who died in hospital on Thursday after protesters said they were severely beaten by security forces.

The Home Office denied responsibility for Bondarenko’s death, saying he was killed in an argument with civilians.

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