Protesters continue rally in Belarus

Hundreds of demonstrators have spent the night camped out in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, as they continue a protest over the presidential election.

The protesters accuse President Alexander Lukashenko of rigging the vote and say they will carry on their vigil until new elections are held.

Two of the main opposition candidates joined the demonstrators, who set up tents in below-freezing temperatures.

The EU and US have condemned the poll as flawed, but Russia says it was fair.

Results announced on Monday gave Mr Lukashenko victory with 82.6% of the vote.

Protests began on Sunday evening as the polls closed, with some 10,000 people gathering in the capital's central October Square.

About half that number heeded the call of chief opposition candidate Alexander Milinkevich and turned out again on Monday night.

"Our protest will be strong and long," Mr Milinkevich told the crowd, urging them not to disperse. "We will never recognise this election. It's not an election but an anti-constitutional seizure of power."

However, numbers fell as the night wore on and the remaining few hundred protesters gathered around 15 or so tents, chanting slogans and drinking hot water to try to keep warm.

Witnesses said riot police had gathered in side streets around the square and there were some reports of scuffles as supporters tried to bring in supplies.

The demonstrators say they will continue their protest until new elections are held but this outcome is unlikely, says the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Minsk, reports BBC news.

I.L.