Belarus blocks more poll monitors

The authorities in Belarus have expelled more foreign observers ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

Nine members of parliament from Georgia were detained at Minsk airport and two Polish journalists were turned back at the border.

Belarus has accused foreign countries of backing opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose police have cracked down hard on dissent.

The US and EU accuse him of relying on Soviet-style authoritarian methods.

The head of Belarus' security service, Stepan Sukhorenko, has said the opposition plans to use Sunday's election to seize power by force.

Opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich denied the accusations, and said the election would be rigged.

President Lukashenko is due to make a final televised election address later on Friday. He is running for a third term in office.

The authorities have warned that they will not tolerate any large-scale street protests of the kind which toppled leaders in other ex-Soviet republics, notably Ukraine and Georgia.

On Wednesday a delegation of European Union MPs abandoned plans to go to Belarus to monitor the presidential election after its members were refused visas.