Belarusian opposition calls for new wave of protests against Lukashenko. Reuters

Belarusian opposition figures marked an unofficial “Freedom Day” on Thursday by calling for new protests against veteran President Alexander Lukashenko to increase pressure on him to resign.

Lukashenko, 66, has faced the biggest challenge to his nearly 27-year-rule since protesters took to the streets after he was declared the winner of a presidential election last August which they said was rigged.

He denied electoral fraud and police cracked down on the protests, which attracted hundreds of thousands of people before giving way to smaller marches.

Media and social networks showed dozens of red and white flags – a protest symbol – being displayed in cities across Belarus on Thursday morning.

Fireworks were set off in the capital Minsk on Wednesday at 23.34 local time (2034 GMT) – a reference to an article in the legal code relating to participation in protests.

The government has said it will retaliate against protests.

“These are the absolute enemies of our state …and we will deal with them very quickly,” said Nikolai Karpenkov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs.


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