Riot police in balaclavas harshly detain some 250 demonstrators as tens of thousands of people gathered for an opposition protest on the eve of talks between Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his main ally, Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Masked agents in uniform and plain clothes snatch people from the streets as they assemble for the “March of Heroes” demonstration, often pushing or punching them, video posted on the Belarusian news site Tut.by shows.
“Some 250 people were detained in various districts of the capital,” the interior ministry says in a statement, adding that those detained were carrying flags and “offensive” placards.
Access to mobile internet was limited and central metro stations closed, with authorities moving police vans, military vehicles and barbed wire into the center ahead of the protest.
Despite the violent detentions, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the city centre for a new massive march, an AFP correspondent says.