Thousands try to storm govt building in Belarus

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 19, 2010 23:49



MINSK, Belarus — Thousands of opposition supporters in Belarus tried to storm the main government building to protest what the opposition claims was large-scale vote-rigging in Sunday's presidential election.




Dozens of protesters were injured in clashes with riot police, left bruised and bloody after being beaten with clubs.




Protesters broke windows and glass doors, but were pushed back by riot police waiting inside the building, which also houses the Central Election Commission. Hundreds more riot police then arrived in trucks.




About 40,000 opposition activists rallied in central Minsk to call for longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko to step down. It was the largest opposition rally since 1996.




"We had a peaceful protest and it is the authorities who used forced," said Marat Titovets, a 40-year-old engineeer. "After Lukashenko spilled blood, he cannot remain in power."



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