MINSK, Belarus — Thousands of people, many waving red-and-white Belarussian flags, marched through the capital's downtown Sunday to demand continued independence and protest government moves to rejoin Moscow.
At one point, demonstrators shouting antigovernment slogans broke through a police cordon. Scuffles broke out between police using tear gas and batons and marchers who pelted police with snowballs and chunks of ice.
"Long live Belarus!" the marchers chanted as they strode down Minsk's main avenue to Belarus' sole television station, which is state-run. Police standing shoulder to shoulder prevented the crowd from entering the station, and it eventually broke up.
The demonstration, called by the opposition Belarusan Popular Front-Revival, came a day after President Alexander G. Lukashenko announced that Belarus would form a political and economic union with Russia.