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