Opposition leader detained in Minsk

MINSK, March 25 (RIA Novosti) - A leader of Belarusian opposition forces, ex-presidential hopeful Alexander Kozulin, was detained in the country's capital near the place of a recent clash of an opposition rally with police, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.

Kozulin, who heads Belarus' Social Democratic Party, said Thursday that he would not abandon the political struggle following the incumbent president's reelection but would continue working to form a popular government from the country's leading democratic movements and parties.

In Sunday's polls, Kozulin and two other candidates challenged President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by Washington. According to official results, the incumbent won a landslide victory with 83% of the vote; main opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich garnered 6.1%; Liberal Democrats Chairman Sergei Gaidukevich, widely regarded as a Lukashenko loyalist, finished third with 3.5%, and was followed by Kozulin with 2.3%.

The opposition disputed the official election returns on Monday, taking to the streets to call for a re-run.

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