23:54 GMT28 November 2020
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    Roughly 8,000 people took part in 16 unauthorised opposition protests throughout Belarus last Sunday, which marked the 11th week of opposition rallies since the country's presidential poll on 9 August.

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko received a phone call from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday, Belarusian Telegram channel Pool Pervogo reported.

    According to Belarusian TV Channel ONT, Mike Pompeo told Alexander Lukashenko that Washington respects Minsk's sovereignty and seeks to develop bilateral relations.

    Lukashenko for his part stressed to Pompeo that Belarus and Russia were prepared to cooperate in their response to external threats:

    "[Belarus and Russia] are ready to jointly respond to emerging external threats. In particular, in accordance with the CSTO Treaty provisions on the protection of the common space in the event of external aggression from Poland, Lithuania or other countries, Belarus and Russia will be forced to respond," the presidential service said, as quoted by BelTA news agency.

    The talks come as the deadline of an ultimatum announced by ex-Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who threatens Lukashenko with nationwide strikes unless he resigns, draws near.

    Belarus has seen massive opposition protests sweeping throughout the country since it held its latest presidential vote on 9 August, with President Alexander Lukashenko managing to secure his sixth term.

    The opposition has refused to recognise the results of the election and continues holding rallies, with the largest ones - involving thousands of people, taking place on weekends. Hundreds have since been detained, with rallies often turning violent.

    Last Sunday, around 8,000 people took part in 16 unauthorised opposition rallies throughout the Eastern European country, according  to Belarusian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova.


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