Hundreds of opposition supporters have staged an unsanctioned protest rally in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, urging voters to boycott the October 11 presidential election.
Speaking at the rally on central Freedom Square on October 10, former presidential candidates Mikalay Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu, denounced the election, saying its result has already been fixed.
Police didn't interfere as protesters began moving towards the Yakub Kolas Square.
About 7 million Belarusians are eligible to vote in the presidential election in which longtime President Alyaksandr Lukashenka is expected to keep a tight grip on power in the former Soviet republic.
Europe and the United States have reacted to past flawed elections and jailing of opponents by imposing travel bans, asset freezes, and other sanctions.
During the 2010 vote, riot police violently suppressed opposition demonstrators and jailed leaders such as Statkevich, who had protested Lukashenka’s reelection.
The EU, in turn, slapped sanctions on 201 individuals and 18 companies.
Based on reporting by ria.ru, Interfax, and RFE/RL's Belarus Service