Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the Belarus capital Minsk Sunday for another demonstration after longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko extended his rule following a disputed election last month.
Protests have been ongoing since the August 9 vote that opposition parties, the United States and the European Union allege was rigged.
On Saturday, thousands demonstrated to demand the release of opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova, who was jailed this week after she resisted expulsion from the country.
Video broadcast by Polish-funded satellite TV channel Belsat and independent outlet Tut.by showed masked Belarusian riot police violently detaining at least 40 women who were thrown into vans as scuffles erupted in the city’s central Freedom Square.
Law enforcement officers detain protesters during a rally against police brutality and the presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sept. 13, 2020. (Credit: Tut.By)
Some of the women protesters chanted “Bring back our Masha,” referring to Kolesnikova, while others beat saucepans.
Lukashenko, who denies the August 9 vote was fraudulent, accuses council members and activists of colluding with Western nations to try to create a parallel government.
Thousands of people have been detained over five weeks of protests triggered by the contested election. At least three people have been killed and hundreds hurt as police have aggressively dispersed peaceful protesters with rubber bullets, clubs and stun grenades.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said the U.S. and other countries are considering bringing sanctions against “those involved in human rights abuses and repression in Belarus.”