Thousands try to storm government building
MINSK | Thousands of opposition supporters in Belarus tried to storm the main government building to protest what the opposition claims was large-scale vote-rigging in Sunday’s presidential election.
Dozens of protesters were injured in clashes with riot police, left bruised and bloody after being beaten with clubs.
Protesters broke windows and glass doors, but were pushed back by riot police waiting inside the building, which also houses the Central Election Commission. Hundreds more riot police then arrived in trucks.
About 40,000 opposition activists rallied in central Minsk to call for longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko to step down. It was the largest opposition rally since 1996.
Leading opposition candidate Vladimir Neklyayev was beaten by riot police while leading a few hundred of his supporters to the demonstration and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, according to his wife.
Europe’s snow cancels flights
PARIS | Heavy snow on Sunday shut down European airport runways, forced fast trains to slow down and left cars skidding through icy, slushy streets on a weekend where many people were trying to head home for Christmas.
Travelers camped out at airports overnight. London’s Heathrow Airport stopped accepting arrivals Sunday, causing havoc at the start of the Christmas travel rush. About 40 percent of flights were canceled at Frankfurt airport and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle.
In the French capital, where snow quickly turned to slush and big trucks were banned from roads, a Lady Gaga concert was canceled because trucks carrying sets for the pop diva’s extravagant show couldn’t get to Bercy stadium. The show was likely to be rescheduled for Tuesday.
Many airplane passengers slept in makeshift dormitories at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle, at Amsterdam’s airport and at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest hub for air passengers.