MOSCOW (Reuters) – Several thousand women marched through Belarus’ capital on Saturday, waving flags, flowers and balloons in the latest in a series of anti-government protests that have hit the country since a presidential election challenged this month.
President Alexander Lukashenko denies opposition accusations that he rigged the August 9 elections to extend his 26-year reign. He says the protesters are funded by the West and accuses NATO of massing forces at Belarusian borders, which the alliance denies.
The women held what they called a solidarity march on Saturday, calling on Lukashenko and his government to step down.
“This is our city” and “you better protect us,” chanted the crowd, many of whom were wearing national costumes.
Streets along the protest route were cordoned off by police and security forces. Smaller-scale gatherings have taken place in other towns and villages.
Writing by Andrey Ostroukh in Moscow; Editing by Frances Kerry
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