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Belarus Police Detain More Than 160 As Protests Against Lukashenka's Rule Continue

Tens of thousands of Belarusians have been detained since a disputed presidential election in August last year. (file photo)

Police in Belarus detained more than 160 people during demonstrations on January 31 calling for longtime strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka to step down.

Video showed police dressed in black grabbing protesters from the sidewalk and putting them in minibuses. Another video shows police chasing demonstrators across a courtyard.

Luzia Tschirky, a Swiss journalist, was among those arrested. She was released after several hours of detention when the Swiss Embassy intervened.

Belarusians have taken to the streets to protest against Lukahsenka since the nation held presidential elections on August 9 that they say were rigged in his favor.

As many as 100,000 people joined the weekly demonstrations last year in the biggest challenge to Lukashenka’s rule in 26 years.

He has managed to cling to power by unleashing a brutal police crackdown on his own citizens, including detaining tens of thousands.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP