04:53 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Opposition rally resumes in Minsk with detained candidate

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    MINSK, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - An opposition rally unexpectedly resumed in the Belarusian capital Minsk Thursday as a presidential candidate who was detained by police but later released joined the protesters.

    Opposition leaders had been planning to cancel the rally, which attracted 1,500-3,000 people, but changed their minds when Alexander Kozulin, the leader of social-democratic party Gramada, arrived at the site.

    Kozulin was about to undergo registration at the All-Belarusian Assembly, currently being held in Minsk, when police detained him inside the building and took him to a police station in the capital's Oktyabrsky District.

    Minsk prosecutors have accused Kozulin of hooliganism.

    First Deputy Prosecutor Nikolai Starovoitov said the candidate had pushed a policeman during registration and then damaged a picture of President Alexander Lukashenko at the police station.

    The president called the incident a provocation.

    Kozulin was later released but is facing a fine, one to two months of community service, or a five-day administrative arrest.

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