The authoritarian government had tried to thwart the protest by blocking access to Facebook, Twitter and a major Russian social networking site used by the organizers. The government also deployed thousands of police and secret service agents in central Minsk as an additional deterrent.
But about 700 or 800 people gathered anyway on a central square. Using anewtactic introduced by young activists this summer, they did not hold signs or chant, but instead clapped their hands in unison to show their opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko.
Public discontent is swelling as Belarus experiences its worst financial crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union.