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Belarus protesters call for release of opposition leaders

[JURIST] Over 1,000 protesters gathered in Minsk Monday to call for the release of opposition politicians in Belarus [JURIST news archive], including Alexander Milinkevich [official website; Wikipedia profile], who was jailed [JURIST report] last week for attending an illegal demonstration. Milinkevich and several other opposition politicians were detained [JURIST report] after a rally to mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Milinkevich told the 7,000 protesters that opposition parties planned to use civil disobedience to oust Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko [official website; BBC profile] from office.

Milinkevich opposed Lukashenko in March's presidential election, which Lukashenko won amid widespread reports of fraud and irregularities [JURIST report]. Lukashenko and other officials face a travel ban [JURIST report] in the EU over the elections, and have long been criticized [JURIST report] for their human rights record. Since the election, over 1,000 opposition members have been arrested, generally for attending unauthorized demonstrations. Reuters has more.

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