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Belarusians protest on anniversary from freedom from Soviet Union

Belarusians are coming back to protest in Minsk to mark the day once the nation became independent following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The demonstrations on Tuesday come as nationwide protests flare after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko extended his 26-year rule within an August 9 election.

Past protests have caused a police crackdown with tens of thousands being arrested. Human rights groups have voiced concern over allegations that countless others were crushed or hurt.

Lukashenko created a dramatic series of defiance on Sunday from the huge protests, carrying a gun and wearing a bulletproof vest.

He’s refused to stand down.

He’s stated the demonstrations are a part of a NATO plot to destabilize the nation.

Lukashenko has announced the winner with 80 percent of their vote. The European Union says it doesn’t recognize the effect of the election.

Belarus declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.