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Dozens Detained In Minsk Amid Crackdown On Anti-Lukashenka Protests


According to one monitoring group, more than 100 people were detained in Misnk on March 10. (file photo)

Police and security forces raided several apartments in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, overnight and detained dozens of people amid an ongoing crackdown against protesters demanding the country's authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka resign.

Human rights activists and volunteers said the majority of those detained late on March 10 were registered in Minsk's Lebyadziny and Novaya Baravaya districts, where police and security forces swept through buildings and searched apartments.

According to an updated list filed by an independent volunteer initiative, more than 100 people were detained and are currently in custody.

No official explanation for the sweep or the arrests has been given.

A crackdown on anti-Lukashenka protesters has been under way in Belarus since August after Lukashenka, 66, who has run the country since 1994, was officially deemed the winner of a presidential election for the sixth consecutive time.

Tens of thousands of Belarusians protested the poll's results saying the election was rigged.

Thousands of Belarusians, including dozens of journalists covering the protests, have been detained by authorities, some handed prison terms, and hundreds beaten while in detention and on the streets.

Several protesters have died in the violence, and some rights organizations say there is credible evidence of torture being used by security officials against some detainees.

Many EU countries, Britain, the United States, and Canada have refused to recognize Lukashenka as Belarus's legitimate leader.

The European Union has imposed three sets of sanctions against Belarusian authorities, including Lukashenka, over the rigged presidential poll and the violent crackdown against peaceful protesters.

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