Belarusian president Lukashenko Photograph:( Reuters )
More than 100,000 people marched through Minsk on Sunday on the sixth straight weekend of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus was sworn in for a new term on Wednesday, the official news agency Belta said, in a sudden inauguration conducted with no prior announcement.
The ceremony, which would normally be publicised in advance as a major state occasion, follows a disputed election on August 9 in which Lukashenko, in power since 1994, claimed a landslide victory. The opposition accused him of massive vote-rigging.
Earlier, more than 100,000 people marched through Minsk on Sunday on the sixth straight weekend of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, keeping up the pressure on the veteran Belarusian leader to quit.
Many walked in a vast column that stretched back several kilometres, decked out in red-and-white opposition colours and chanting "go away" as helmeted riot police patrolled the streets with water canons on hand, a witness said.
Several protesters were dragged away from the crowd by security forces. In the city centre, riot police rhythmically beat their shields as a warning while several people threw glass bottles at them.
Videos shared by local media outlets showed security forces in helmets or masks hauling protesters off the streets in simultaneous protests in other cities.
The eastern European country was plunged into turmoil following a presidential election last month that Lukashenko says he won by a landslide, but the opposition says was rigged.