By UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
MINSK, Belarus -- Belarusian leaders Tuesday delayed the presidential inauguration until April as Russian officials downplayed the effects of protests against the balloting.
Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected March 19 but allegations of vote fraud sparked widespread demonstrations.
The Russian information agency Novosti reported the inauguration was delayed from its original March 31 date because of a conflict in Lukashenko's schedule. Washington has dubbed Lukashenko "Europe's last dictator."
More than 300 protesters, including the former Polish ambassador, were detained for unauthorized opposition rallies in Minsk.
Mariusz Maszkiewicz, who was the Polish ambassador in Belarus, was found guilty of attending a political rally in Oktyabrskaya Square and will spend 15 days in jail, Interfax reported. Some 100 people were jailed for several days or fined. Police disbanded the protests last Friday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry Tuesday said the protest tactics had failed but Moscow would continue to keep a close eye on the situation, Novosti said.