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Pro-Ukraine Demo In Belarus Gathers Largest Crowd Since 2011

More than 1,500 rallied on Independence Day in Minsk on March 25, carrying Belarusian and Ukrainian flags.
More than 1,500 Belarusian protesters marched through central Minsk on March 25 in an annual opposition rally which was dominated by Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

The march, called the Freedom Day, marked the anniversary of the short-lived Belarusian Popular Republic in 1919, and gathered the biggest crowd since 2011 when protests were held after the disputed presidential election.

Protesters carried both Ukrainian and Belarusian flags, and held anti-Russian banners.

The protest came just two days after Belarusian strongman leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka criticized Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, but said that the territory was now "de facto" a part of Russia. His statement promptet Ukraine to recall its ambassador to Minsk.

Belarus shares long borders with two countries, as well as with NATO members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.
Based on reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL's Belarus Service