Tension in Belarus in run-up to presidential poll

Belarus opposition leader, Alexander Milinkevich has promised a series of mass protests if he suspects any fraud in the country's forthcoming elections. After a weekend which has seen opposition activists arrested and their supporters taking to the streets, tension in the run-up to the March 19th poll is increasing.

At an opposition rally, Milinkevich said that his country had the stability of stagnation . That the country was marking time....Neighbouring countries, which until recently had been together with Belarus in the Soviet Union, were in contrast, moving forward everyday."

But Milinkevich is facing an uphill struggle to unseat President Lukashenko whose firm grip on power saw his own supporters gate crash the opposition rally. Alexandar Lukashenko has held the presidency since 1992. Western critics accuse him of running roughshod over his opponents and controlling television air time and closing down independent newspapers.

In a recent news bulletin, footage of dollar notes and various documents have been shown, allegedly supporting accusations that the opposition is plotting a coup if they lose the election. The opposition has denied any involvement.