MINSK, Belarus (AP) — About 1,000 protesters denouncing authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s seeking of 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, didn’t interfere with the protesters on Sunday.
The Aug. 9 election will see 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 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 neighboring Ukraine whose population is four times larger.