Belarusians defy freezing temperatures for protest march, hundreds of arrests

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For the sixteenth Sunday in a row, people in Belarus took to the streets to demonstrate against President Lukashenko. At least 340 demonstrators have been arrested, according to human rights organization Viasna. The police in Minsk speak of at least 250 arrests in the capital.

The weekly protest march was renamed the ‘Neighbors March’. Banners had texts such as’ every neighbor against the dictator ‘and’ get out rat! The demonstrations mainly took place in the outskirts of Minsk, with the idea that the security forces would have more difficulty in gaining control over a scattered protest. Previously, the demonstrations were concentrated in the city centers.

For the first time since the protests began, the temperature in Minsk dropped below freezing, but that did not stop the protesters from taking to the streets. The extent of the protest is unclear, partly because many journalists have been arrested and foreign colleagues are denied access to the country.

These images show that in a suburb of Minsk, the protest is broken open with warning shots and tear gas:

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