By: The Associated Press
MINSK, Belarus - Thousands of protesters in Belarus have rallied in the capital despite an official ban, demanding that the country's president resign.
Some 3,000 protesters gathered in downtown Minsk on Wednesday holding posters urging President Alexander Lukashenko to quit. Opposition leader and presidential hopeful Nikolai Statkevich said the rally was the Belarusian opposition's "weapon to fight the dictatorship."
Lukashenko has been criticized in the West for his government's efforts to quash opposition groups and independent media.
Authorities in the former Soviet country banned the rally. Dozens of police were on hand but did not interfere. Similar past protests have been violently dispersed with dozens of demonstrators arrested.