Thousands protest disputed elections in Belarus

Several thousand protesters have rallied in a central park of the Belarussian capital Minsk in defiance of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Opposition Leader Alexander Milinkevich, who called the unauthorised rally after a week of unprecedented protests against Mr Lukashenko's disputed re-election victory on March 19, could be seen in the crowd.

Protesters chanted "Freedom", "Free Election" and "Truth, Truth" and waved flags.

Some climbed trees.

Earlier, police blocked the Opposition's supporters from gathering on nearby October Square.

On Friday, hundreds of protesters were arrested in the square when police shut down an anti-Mr Lukashenko protest camp that had been set up since Monday.

Security men told Saturday's protesters the square was closed because of work to remove an open air ice rink there.

Bulldozers could be seen scraping away ice and snow.

An AFP reporter says 10 trucks designed for carrying prisoners, a row of buses and ambulances could be seen in a nearby side street.

There has been a crackdown on the Opposition since Mr Lukashenko's re-election to a third five-year term.

According to official results, 83 per cent voted for Mr Lukashenko and 6.1 per cent for Mr Milinkevich.

Both the United States and the European Union have said the polls were rigged and have threatened economic sanctions.