Belarusian Police Detain Demonstrators

Belarusian authorities detained scores of demonstrators Tuesday as university students protested in Minsk to demand the resignation of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Hundreds of students marched through the center of the capital to the Education Ministry on the first day of classes, in the fourth week of mass protests against Lukashenko’s August 9 reelection, which the students, other activists and critics maintain was rigged. Lukashenko won a sixth term in office. 
 
As police moved to disperse the crowds, they detained a portion of the demonstrators, some of whom were students, according to local media reports. Police confirmed people were apprehended but did not say how many. A student is detained by law enforcement officers during a protest against presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sept. 1, 2020.The Viasna Human Rights Center in Belarus said riot police beat many of the students who had been detained, and it noted that several university professors also were apprehended. Additionally, reports say several organizers of work stoppages at large industrial plants have been detained, prompting people to gather Tuesday near several of the plants in a show of support for the striking workers. Prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the opposition’s Coordination Council, which was formed last month to negotiate a transition of power in the wake of the election. Lukashenko has said council members and other activists are under the control of Western nations, and he accused them of trying to create a parallel government. The protests were triggered by a government crackdown shortly after the election that resulted in the detention of nearly 7,000 people. Three people were killed, and hundreds of others were hurt when police dispersed peaceful protesters using rubber bullets, clubs and stun grenades. 
 

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