Mass Protests in Belarus Continue During Presidential Rally
Tens of thousands of opponents of Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko gathered in Minsk Sunday to protest against last week's disputed presidential election.
The "March for Freedom" in the capital comes amid growing anger over alleged poll-rigging in the election and police use of excessive force at last week's protests. Thousands of protesters were detained or arrested and some were severely beaten at last week's protests.
At the same time as the "March of Freedom" protest, President Lukashenko held a much smaller rally celebrating his victory, in which he called his opponents "rats." He also called on supporters to help defend the country and its independence.
President Lukashenko also expressed concern over NATO military exercises taking place in the neighboring countries of Poland and Lithuania and claimed there was a "build-up of [NATO] military power on the western borders of the country." Russian President Putin has already offered assistance against external military threats to Belarus.
A spokesman for NATO said there is no such buildup in the region and added that "NATO's multinational presence in the eastern part of the Alliance is not a threat to any country. It is strictly defensive, proportionate, and designed to prevent conflict and preserve peace."
Photo Credit: Youtube.com