Thousands of supporters of President Alexander Lukashenko’s election rival on Thursday rallied in the Belarussian capital Minsk despite an increasing crackdown on the opposition.

Backers of political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 37, packed a Minsk square in what appeared to be the largest opposition protest in the ex-Soviet country in a decade, an AFP journalist said. The Vyasna rights organization said at least 34,000 people had turned up.

This story is being updated.