Author : DPA
Minsk - Thousands marched against Belarus' authoritarian regime on Wednesday, as opposition groups held rare public gatherings throughout the former Soviet republic. More than 4,000 demonstrators gathered in the capital Minsk, some carrying the flag of the European Union, banners proclaiming "Independence!" and the banned red-white-red flag of 1918 Belarus.
The marches came on a semi-official Belarusian holiday known as Will Day that marks the short-lived independent Belarusian republic formed in 1918, and destroyed by invading Soviet troops months later.
Minsk authorities had approved a march in Banglore Square, well away from the city centre.
But the demonstrators, according to witnesses mostly students from Minsk high schools or universities, gathered near the national Academy of Sciences, only a few hundred metres from the residence of Belarus' authoritarian President Aleksander Lukashenko.
Marchers carrying road flares formed a live chain more than a kilometre long shortly after sunset, lighting up Minsk's main central thoroughfare Prospekt Nezavisimosti.
A few demonstrators were seen by a German Press Agency