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Belarus Police Hold back Protesters, Rally Moved to Park


Thousands supporters of Belarusian opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich are gathering in a park in the capital to protest the results of last Sunday's disputed presidential election.

Mr. Milinkevich moved Saturday's planned peaceful protest from Minsk's October Square to a nearby park after thousands of riot police blocked the entrance to the square.

Some activists pushed through police lines, but authorities herded most of the growing crowd of demonstrators out of the area. A few minor scuffles have been reported, but no serious violence or detentions.

Mr. Milinkevich lost in a landslide to hardline President Alexander Lukashenko. Western countries condemned the vote as undemocratic, but Russia called it free and transparent. Mr. Milinkevich and his supporters say they want a new and fair election.

Mr. Lukashenko has not commented on Saturday's rally.

Early Friday, Belarus riot police detained about 300 opposition activists who had been camped out in October Square since polls closed late Sunday.

The United States and European Union reacted by imposing new sanctions against Mr. Lukashenko's government. He has ruled Belarus since 1994.
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