Protesters Defy Lukashenko, March in Belarus

Posted June 15th, 2011 at 7:00 pm (UTC-5)
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About 1,000 Belarusian opposition supporters defied President Alexander Lukashenko and held a peaceful protest march in central Minsk Wednesday.

Mr. Lukashenko warned he would strike hard at any demonstration against his policies.

Organizers used social media and the internet to spread the word about Wednesday's march. Police stood by before peacefully dispersing the protesters.

Many Belarusians are angry over the country's deteriorating economy, the plummeting value of the ruble, and a sharp rise in the price of gasoline.

The United States has called Mr. Lukashenko Europe's last dictator because of his suppression of human rights and free speech and allegedly rigging elections.

Belarusian police used violence to break up opposition protests against last December's presidential election, which Mr. Lukashenko won by a landslide. A number of opposition candidates were beaten and jailed.