Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in central Minsk on Sunday for the third consecutive weekend of protests against the results of contested presidential elections earlier this month.
READ MORE: Tens of thousands protested in the Belarusian capital of Minsk Sunday, the president’s birthday, demanding he resign.
Alexander Lukashenko, who turned 66 Sunday, was declared the winner of an August 9 election, amid widespread allegations of voter fraud. Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, denies any election irregularities.
The main opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, said she would never accept the election results. She then fled to Lithuania for what she said was her children’s safety.
Protests have rocked the country since the election results were announced. On Sunday, protesters convened around Lukashenko’s residence, facing security forces carrying shields and backed by prisoner vans and water cannons.
At least 125 people were detained Sunday, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the Interior Ministry as saying.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Lukashenko Sunday to wish him a happy birthday and invite him to Moscow. Putin has repeatedly offered support to Lukashenko as Belarus faces sanctions from the West.