Thousands gather for Belarus protester's funeral

Media playback is unsupported on your device Thousands of people have gathered in Belarus for the funeral of a man who died during recent protests agains

Thousands gather for Belarus protester's funeral

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Thousands of people have gathered in Belarus for the funeral of a man who died during recent protests against the disputed presidential election.

Opposition supporters turned out in the capital, Minsk, on Saturday where they laid flowers, waved banners and chanted for the long-time president to resign.

Mass protests erupted after President Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the 9 August vote.

The result has been condemned with widespread allegations of vote-rigging.

The Central Election Commission says Mr Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, won 80.1% of the vote and the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya 10.12%.

But Ms Tikhanovskaya insists that where votes were properly counted, she won support ranging from 60% to 70%.

On Friday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to prepare new sanctions on Belarusian officials responsible for "falsification". The US has also condemned the election as "not free and fair".

And on Saturday, three Baltic states called for the vote to be re-run.

What's the latest with the protests?

Thousands of people waved flags, lit candles and laid flowers at the scene close to the metro station where Alexander Taraikovsky died on Monday. Others held up pictures of injured protesters, while drivers joined in by honking their horns.

Many opposition supporters chanted "Leave!" - a call for President Lukashenko to resign - and some carried signs with slogans against police violence.

The circumstances of Mr Taraikovsky's death are unclear. Officials say he died when an explosive device went off in his hand during a protest, but opposition supporters dispute this.

A "March for Freedom" is also planned in the centre of the city on Sunday, a week after the contested election.

It follows Ms Tikhanovskaya's call for further peaceful rallies across the country on Friday. "Don't stay on the sidelines," she said.

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Meanwhile, state media reported that Mr Lukashenko had discussed the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

Mr Lukashenko had said he needed to speak to Mr Putin as the protests were not "a threat to just Belarus anymore".

What else is happening?

In a joint statement on Saturday, the prime ministers of three Baltic republics - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - "expressed deep concern at the violent crackdown... and the political repression of the opposition by the authorities".

The leaders said the presidential election was "neither free nor fair" and called for a "transparent" vote "with the participation of international observers".

"The prime ministers urge the Belarusian authorities to refrain from violence against peaceful demonstrators [and to] release all political prisoners and those that have been detained," the statement added.

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Ms Tikhanovskaya fled to Lithuania following the election after she publicly denounced the results. She said he had sent her children to Lithuania for safety before the vote.

Lithuania and Latvia have also previously said they are prepared to mediate in Belarus, provided the authorities stopped violence against protesters and formed a national council with members of civil society. They warned that the alternative was sanctions.

Some 6,700 people were arrested in the wake of the election, and many have spoken of torture at the hands of the security services.

Amnesty International said accounts from released detainees suggested "widespread torture".

More about the protests in Belarus

Prisoners continued to be released from the notorious Okrestina detention centre in Minsk on Friday, revealing their bruised and swollen bodies.

"They beat people ferociously, with impunity, and they arrest anyone. We were forced to stand in the yard all night. We could hear women being beaten. I don't understand such cruelty," one man said as he showed the BBC his bruising.

Belarus Interior Minister Yuri Karayev said he took responsibility for people being injured and wanted to apologise to people caught up in the violence.

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