Thousands Of Women March In Minsk Against Lukashenka
Thousands of people, mainly women, marched through the center of Minsk on August 29 in the latest protest against Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Wrapped in red-and-white flags, which have become a symbol for the opposition, the march participants sang, held flowers, waved, and chanted slogans calling for the president to step down and demanding that those behind a violent postelection crackdown be brought to justice. Protests have been continuing in the country for weeks, despite the massive use of force by police and a wave of arrests in the days after the August 9 presidential election, which is widely believed to have been rigged in Lukashenka's favor. No arrests or violence was reported on August 29, though at one point protesters faced off with riot police who blocked the crowd's progress. On the same day, Belarusian authorities stripped accreditation from at least 17 journalists from major foreign news organizations, including RFE/RL, the BBC, AP, and Reuters. Without accreditation, journalists are not legally permitted to gather news within the country. No reason for the government’s decision was provided.