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Belarus: Opposition To Protest Extension Of Presidents Term

Minsk, 20 July 1999 (RFE/RL) - Belarus state television says police in Minsk have been put on alert ahead of expected opposition protests over the extension of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's five-year term. ITAR-TASS quotes the television as saying the decision follows statements by opposition leaders that they would stage protest actions against Lukashenka, including a march in central Minsk. Lukashenka's original five-year term in office ends today, but he intends to stay in office at least two more years. The term was extended in a controversial 1996 referendum which was not recognized by the Belarus political opposition nor Western governments. The referendum also dissolved parliament and gave the president expanded powers.