Demonstrators mass in central Minsk, Sunday, August 23, after opposition leaders called for a huge rally to demand the resignation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the latest in a wave of protests against his disputed re-election.
READ MORE: Tens of thousands of people gathered in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, for a rally Sunday against the disputed reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko and a postelection crackdown amid a heavy military presence in the city amid a fresh warning from the army.
Crowds filed down streets of the city center for what is being billed as the March of New Belarus as protests entered a 15th day in the Eastern European country of 9.5 million.
Protesters, chanting “freedom,” were calling for Lukashenko’s resignation.
Ahead of the rally, the Defense Ministry announced the army would take responsibility for protecting national memorials from protesters.
In a statement, the ministry said any unrest near such monuments and statues would no longer be responded to by police forces but by the army.
The statement came as army personnel were spotted being transported into Minsk in military transporters.
The opposition NEXTA Life Telegram channel said police checkpoints had been set up at road entrances to the Belarusian capital.
So far, two people have been confirmed killed in the postelection protests in Belarus.