Street Protests To Drive Out President

The opposition leader in Belarus has called for street protests to drive President Alexander Lukashenko out of office.

Speaking at a rally in the capital Minsk, Alexander Milinkevich said he believed elections would no longer be held for the country's 10 million people.

Mr Lukashenko has been in power in the former Soviet state since 1994. Mr Milinkevich called the current administration a "dictatorship", adding: "We must hold street protests."

"We have to have more and more of them. The authorities will no longer conduct elections," he told around 5,000 supporters.

Police routinely detain demonstrators at events held without official permission, but the latest rally was allowed as long as protesters stayed out of the city centre.

Mr Milinkevich finished a distant second to Mr Lukashenko in an election in March that the West said was rigged.

Western nations allege the President has hounded opponents, closed down independent media and rigged elections.

Mr Milinkevich urged participants to gather at Minsk's October Square - the site of big protests after the March election.

The latest rally was to remember opponents of Mr Lukashenko who have disappeared without explanation.