Smaller Crowds March In Belarusian Capital; At Least 30 Reported Detained




MINSK -- Dozens of women marched through Minsk's streets in the latest effort to pressure the Belarusian government and Alyaksandr Lukashenka to step aside or call new elections.

The October 17 march was a fraction of the size of earlier demonstrations that have seen massive outpourings of protesters facing off with riot police and clogging the central streets of the Belarusian capital.

Videos posted to Telegram and social media showed police detained some of the participants. The human rights group Vyasna said that more than 30 people were taken away by police, but it was unclear if they were directly connected to the marches.

Belarus has been roiled by protests since the August 9 election that Lukashenka, who has been in power since 1994, was declared the winner of.

Opposition groups, and many Belarusians, say the results were fraudulent, and that activist Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya is in fact the legitimate winner.

She fled Belarus for Lithuania shortly after the election amid threats to her and her family.

Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters stepped their pressure this week as she called on Lukashenka to step down by October 25 or face a nationwide strike.

The United States and European Union have refused to recognize Lukashenka's victory, and on October 12 the EU added Lukashenka to its sanctions list.

With reporting by Current Time