Europe

1,000 opposition supporters march in Belarus capital

  • A Belarusian opposition protester holds a lighted flare during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 25, 2016. March 25 has long been a traditional day of demonstration for the opposition, marking what they call Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian state. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    A Belarusian opposition protester holds a lighted flare during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 25, 2016. March 25 has long been a traditional day of demonstration for the opposition, marking what they call Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian state. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Belarusian opposition protesters holds a lighted flare during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 25, 2016. March 25 has long been a traditional day of demonstration for the opposition, marking what they call Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian state. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    A Belarusian opposition protesters holds a lighted flare during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 25, 2016. March 25 has long been a traditional day of demonstration for the opposition, marking what they call Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian state. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • Belarusian opposition protesters wave opposition flags during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 25, 2016. March 25 has long been a traditional day of demonstration for the opposition, marking what they call Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian state. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Belarusian opposition protesters wave opposition flags during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, March 25, 2016. March 25 has long been a traditional day of demonstration for the opposition, marking what they call Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the first, short-lived independent Belarusian state. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

About 1,000 supporters of Belarus' beleaguered opposition have held a march in the center of Minsk, the capital.

The march Friday was the largest opposition gathering of the past year. It was held in commemoration of what the opposition calls Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 1918 founding of the independent Belarusian People's Republic, which fell about nine months later to the Bolsheviks.

Police did not interfere with the march.

Under authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, Belarus has cracked down on opposition and independent news media. In February, however, Belarus released all its political prisoners, leading to the lifting of European Union sanctions that had been imposed five years ago.