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Belarusian Police Arrest Protesters

21 July 2004 -- Police today arrested at least 30 protestors in the Belarusian capital Minsk for participating in an unauthorized rally opposing the hard-line rule of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

More than 2,000 people gathered in a central square to mark the 10-year anniversary of Lukashenka's rise to power. After police broke up the rally, the demonstrators moved to another square on the outskirts of Minsk.

The Belarusian opposition and international groups criticize Lukashenka for cracking down on media freedoms and failing to implement democratic reforms.

Lukashenka yesterday said he may seek a referendum on constitutional changes that would allow him to run for a third term in office when his current term ends in 2006.