Senior police official said officers reserve right to use firearms on demonstrators against President Lukashenko.

People attend an opposition rally to reject the presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus [Reuters]

Tens of thousands of people have marched through the streets of the Belarusian capital Minsk to demand the resignation of veteran President Alexander Lukashenko, despite a threat by officials to use firearms against protesters.

Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, has been rocked by strikes and weekly street protests since authorities announced Lukashenko, who has ruled in authoritarian fashion since 1994, had secured re-election on August 9 with 80 percent of votes.

Some protesters chanted “Strike!” and “You and your riot police get out!” during Sunday’s march.

The Interfax

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