• The Financial District


A key opposition figure in Belarus was moved to a different prison outside Minsk on Saturday, as fresh anti-government protests got under way in the capital, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.

Maria Kalesnikava was moved to a new location north-east of the Belarusian capital. The opposition wrote on Twitter that they had not been told the reason for the move. Kalesnikava is a close ally of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who came second in the August 9 election, according to the disputed official result. Tikhanovskaya's supporters say that she won the election.

Kalesnikava, 38, is a member of the praesidium of a coordination council seeking a peaceful transition of power in Belarus. Her supporters claim she was violently detained by unidentified masked men in central Minsk earlier this week, and now faces a charge of attempting to overthrow authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. She reportedly scuppered an attempt to force her to leave the country for Ukraine after ripping up her passport at the border. 

A protest by hundreds of women began in Minsk on Saturday, but was met with force by security forces. Images from the scene showed many being forced into police vans, while news portal tut.by reported that there had been more than 30 arrests. Thousands of women turned up for a demonstration a week ago. There have been protests every day in Belarus since a presidential election more than a month ago. The opposition, as well as European Union (EU) officials, allege that Lukashenko rigged the vote to maintain his grip on power.

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