Belarusian authorities have said that they will release all of the demonstrators who were detained for protesting the results of a rigged election that returned strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko to power, continuing a 26-year rule. Multiple detainees were witnessed being released from police stations, however it has not yet been confirmed that all of the estimated 6,700 people who were detained have yet been released. On Thursday, the state issued a rare public apology, with the Interior Minister Yuri Karayev saying on state television that police operations against mass protests resulted in accidental arrests. “As commander, I would like to take responsibility and apologize honestly to these people in a humane way,” he said. Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Friday released a video urging an end to violence in the country, and called on people to sign a form demanding a recount of the vote that she may indeed have won. European Union foreign ministers meeting Friday are due to discuss harsh new sanctions against the Belarusian leadership. A new round of protests began in Minsk on Friday, as people formed human chains around the city. This follows similar protests on Thursday in the Belarusian capital that saw hundreds of women form “lines of solidarity” carrying flowers and pictures of detained loved ones.
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