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Belarus opposition stages protest against president’s bid for sixth term

The gathering in Minsk was the biggest of the year.

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An opposition activist Sergei Tikhanovsky, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, gestures as he speaks (Sergei Grits/AP)

An opposition activist Sergei Tikhanovsky, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, gestures as he speaks (Sergei Grits/AP)

An opposition activist Sergei Tikhanovsky, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, gestures as he speaks (Sergei Grits/AP)

About 1,000 protesters denouncing authoritarian Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko’s bid for another term in an upcoming election have held the largest opposition demonstration of the year in the capital Minsk.

Many of the demonstrators carried slippers as a symbol of protest leader Sergei Tikhanovsky’s call to “smash the cockroach”.

Police, who frequently break up opposition demonstrations, did not interfere with the protesters on Sunday.

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Protesters in MInsk (Sergei Grits/AP)

Protesters in MInsk (Sergei Grits/AP)

AP/PA Images

Protesters in MInsk (Sergei Grits/AP)

The August 9 election will see Mr Lukashenko, who has suppressed opposition and independent news media during a quarter-century in power, run for a sixth term.

Many of the demonstrators wore masks, defying Mr Lukashenko’s dismissal of coronavirus concerns as a “psychosis”.

Belarus has recorded more than 36,000 cases of coronavirus infection, about 75% more than in neighbouring Ukraine whose population is four times larger.

PA