Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Minsk demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko who won a record sixth term in office in an election dubbed a sham by pro-democracy groups and Opposition leaders.

Dozens of protesters were arrested not just in the capital city, but also in Grodno where protests took place as well.

Protests had begun on August 9, shortly after it became clear that Lukashenko who came to power 26 years ago, ‘won’ the recent election. His opponents like Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya have been forced into exile, while Maria Kolsenikova has been jailed on allegedly trumped up charges.

Twitter was flooded with sights and sounds from the protest:

Neither the US, nor the European Union recognize Lukashenko’s leadership. A meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is likely to take place in Vilnius tomorrow. The exiled leader has been trying to gather support from various international allies to not only resolve the crisis in her home country but also push for the release of political prisoners.

Women have been at the forefront of the protest in Belarus. They formed lines of solidarity on September 13, sang on sidewalks on September 19 and on September 20, over 200 women protesters were detained by the police.

*Feature image by Максим Шикунец courtesy Wikimedia Commons