1,000 protest Belarusian president seeking another term

International

An opposition activist Sergei Tikhovoski, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, gestures as he speaks to people gathered to sign up and support potential presidential candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, May 24, 2020. The presidential campaign is underway in Belarus despite the coronavirus outbreak after the parliament and government refused to postpone the election scheduled for August 9. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

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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.

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