Belarus president arms himself with machine gun at palace as protests rage

Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko has been filmed brandishing a rifle in Minsk as more than 200,000 people took to the streets demanding he resign.

A video shared online shows the authoritarian president arriving at the Independence Palace in the capital city by a helicopter.

As he gets off the aircraft, he is seen holding what appears to be a Kalashnikov-type automatic rifle, although no ammunition clip is visible.

He greets a security officer while heading towards the government building.

The video comes after tensions rise over protests with opposition supporters demanding Lukashenko's resignation, over claims a recent election was rigged in his favour.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of angry protesters took to the streets and held the national flags after the disputed election victory two weeks ago.

They occupied most of the streets in and around Independence Square before marching on to the city’s war memorial, the location of last week’s march, where they were met by lines of barbed wire, police and interior ministry troops.

As they waved their flags, they chanted "go away" and "long live Belarus".

Approximately 7,000 people were arrested, and many of them beaten with clubs in the recent protests.

The Belarusian defence ministry described the anti-Lukashenko protesters as "fascists" and declared that the army, rather than police, will now respond to any unrest near the capital's memorials to victims of the Second World War.

Alexander Lukashenko, 65, who has been in power since 1994, took more than 80% of the vote on August 9 to claim a sixth term in office.

While the opposition party claimed the ballot was rigged, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said it was impossible to tell due to a lack of international observers, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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