21:17 GMT +317 January 2018
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    Belarus police did not "break up" opposition rally - Lavrov

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    MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said Friday that Belarusian police could not be accused of "breaking up" a five-day opposition rally in Minsk.

    "I would not call what we saw on television a 'breaking up'. What we saw in Minsk cannot be compared with what is going on in a number of European countries," Lavrov said, apparently referring to ongoing student disturbances in Paris.

    He said election results should be contested by legal means, not illegal action, and that rallies like the one in Minsk would produce no results.

    Three buses carrying protesters arrested after police ended the rally early Friday morning are traveling to courts in the Belarusian capital. Protestors took to the streets following Sunday's presidential elections, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko with 83%. They said the elections were fraudulent, and called for a re-run.

    "I am convinced that such rallies are unlikely to change anything," Lavrov said. "And I do not think that this rally was being held in compliance with the law or that the demonstrators asked for any approval to hold any rally."

    "People have spent several days in the square, and honestly I do not understand what they expected to achieve," Lavrov said.

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