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 ongoing coverage as Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka ramps up pressure on NGOs and independent media as part of a brutal crackdown against protesters and the opposition following an August 2020 election widely considered fraudulent.
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.