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Protests in Belarus: Lukashenko flew to the Palace of Independence in bulletproof vest and with gun, - media

Source : 112 Ukraine

The helicopter has landed on the territory of the Palace
19:31, 23 August 2020

Huge crowds in central Minsk demand the resignation of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. August 16, 2020
Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko flew to the Palace of Independence in Minsk by helicopter in a bulletproof vest and with a machine gun. This is stated by the Nexta Telegram channel.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Minsk on Sunday in the latest mass demonstration against the Belarusian government.

The demonstrators, draped in red-and-white opposition flags, descended on Independence Square, chanting slogans against President Alexander Lukashenko, who secured victory in a controversial election earlier this month.

Local news outlets published videos on social media showing water cannon and riot police with shields moving towards Independence Square.

Related: Tsikhanouskaya claims she could meet with representative of US State Department

So far, authorities have arrested nearly 7,000 people, with protest organizers alleging police of torturing and abusing the detainees.

The Defense Ministry announced Sunday it will deploy the army to protect national monuments from protesters and any unrest near these sites will not be tolerated.

The ministry said it would intervene to protect World War II memorials, describing it as "sacred places," and ordered the closure of four metro stations in central Minsk.

"The news [of the army deployment] has outraged people here. So far only the riot police have been used against the protesters. It is unclear whether these soldiers will be willing to use force against unarmed demonstrators," said the journalist.

Related: Zelensky advises Lukashenko to hold repeat president's elections

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