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Minor Scuffles With Police As Elderly March In Support Of Belarus's Democracy Movement

Pensioners march during the rally in Minsk on November 23.
Pensioners march during the rally in Minsk on November 23.

MINSK -- Several thousand pensioners in Belarus marched for an eighth-straight week in Minsk on November 23 to protest state violence against the country’s pro-democracy movement.

Black-clad security forces wearing balaclavas blocked the columns of elderly protesters from completing the regular Monday march, preventing them from entering central Independence Avenue. The protesters shouted, "Freedom for political prisoners!" and "Murderers!"

Crisis In Belarus

Read our coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka continues his brutal crackdown on NGOs, activists, and independent media following the August 2020 presidential election.

At least six people were detained, the Vyasna human rights center reported, including two elderly women in their 70s, who were later released.

Minor scuffles were reported, with witnesses saying security forces pushed several of the elderly onto the asphalt.

The so-called March of Wisdom has drawn thousands of pensioners in recent weeks, joining calls for the resignation of Alyaksandr Lukashenka following August’s disputed presidential election that extended the strongman’s rule.

The opposition says the vote was rigged and the West refuses to accept the outcome, slapping sanctions on Lukashenka and other top officials.

Several protesters have been killed and thousands of people arrested in a widening crackdown that has included credible reports of torture.

Most of the country's opposition leaders have been arrested or forced to leave the country.

With reporting by
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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.