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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:43, March 26, 2006
Organizers of unsanctioned rally in Minsk detained, to face criminal charges
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The key organizers of an unsanctioned protest in Minsk against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, including a former opposition presidential candidate, were detained on Saturday and will face criminal charges, the Belarussian interior minister said.

Thousands of demonstrators, demanding a rerun of the presidential election a week ago, first gathered on a street adjacent to the October Square after being denied access to the square by riot police and then moved toward the Yanka Kupala park for a rally, Russian news agencies reported.

The demonstrators clashed with police when they tried to march to a police station where some of the opposition supporters were being held after police on Thursday broke up an unsanctioned opposition rally in the October Square. The crowd dispersed shortly afterwards.

Eight interior troops and police were injured in the clashes, Interior Minister Vladimir Naumov said, quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

Naumov said all key organizers of the unauthorized rally, including Kozulin, had been detained and will face criminal charges. He said Kozulin called for the change of power by force, including "physical liquidation of the head of state."

Lukashenko was officially declared the winner of the March 19 presidential election on Thursday, securing a third term in office. Opposition supporters started a five-day, unsanctioned rally in the October Square on the election day, refusing to accept the election results and demanding a rerun.

Source: Xinhua

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