Minsk Says 18,250 People Attended Presidential Candidate Tikhanovskaya's Rally, Not 63,000

Minsk Says 18,250 People Attended Presidential Candidate Tikhanovskaya's Rally, Not 63,000

MINSK (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 31st July, 2020) A rally of supporters of Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was attended by 18,250 people, not 63,000, as human rights activists claimed, the Belarusian Interior Ministry said on Friday.

The massive rally took place in Minsk on late Thursday as part of Tikhanovskaya's campaign ahead of the August 9 presidential election. The event became the first massive opposition demonstration in Belarus after security measures were boosted in the country in the wake of the detention of 33 Russian citizens allegedly belonging to what Minsk called "private military company Wagner." Minsk is accusing the detainees of destabilizing the situation in the country, while Moscow has refuted the allegations.

"For an objective confirmation of the information, the Interior Ministry summarized data on the number of participants in the mass event, which took place on July 30 in the capital's Park of Peoples' Friendship.

A total of 18,250 people passed through checkpoints equipped with frame metal detectors," the ministry said in a statement.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is a spouse of popular Belorussian videoblogger Sergei Tikhanovsky, who is currently in custody over criminal charges. Sergei Tikhanovsky originally planned to put forward his candidacy but failed to register an initiative group. He was then succeeded by his wife, who managed to unite supporters of many opposition figures to challenge incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko's plans to run for the sixth consecutive term atop 26 years of previous presidential service.