by Adam Richards
Police in Belarus have today arrested hundreds of people who were staging a mass demonstration against the forecasted re-election of the country's president, Alexander Lukashenko.
The arrests included four of the opposition candidates, and have come at a time when dispute over the polls is particularly high.
News reports from Belarus' ONT television, said that Lukashenko was set to take an easy victory in the election poll that was held over the weekend. This would see Lukashenko commence his fourth term as President with a huge 72.2 percent of the total vote.
However, the protests against this forecasted result have been enormous, with tens of thousands of demonstrators coming to attend a rally in the centre of Minsk. According to AFP reporters in Minsk, some of the demonstrators even tried to enter the government buildings by smashing the glass doors.
However, in amazing speed, Minsk anti-riot police arrived at Independence Square where the rally was taking place and arrested hundreds of demonstrators. As many of these people were put into waiting police vans, reports surfaced that police were beating a number of demonstrators with truncheons.
The demonstrations came after earlier allegations by the opposition candidates that the vote had been fraudulently conducted by Lukashenko. Protestors came out in large numbers despite the fact that Lukashenko had issued warnings not to protest.
One opposition candidate, Yaroslav Romanchuk, said that the election was farcical, and that the government had not taken the chance to extend a hand to the people of Belarus.