MOSCOW (AP) — The president of Belarus says Western intelligence agencies are using a "fifth column" to cause unrest and threaten the stability of his regime.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the former Soviet republic in recent weeks to protest an unpopular labor law, the largest anti-government demonstrations in Belarus for years.

President Alexander Lukashenko says Monday that "Western funds under the direction of Western security services" are trying to "inflame the situation in Belarus," the state news agency Belta reported.

People in Belarus are unhappy about government plans to tax those without official employment. Despite a rare decision by Lukashenko to postpone the measure, protests have continued. Dozens of demonstrators have been arrested by the authorities.

Lukashenko has suppressed opposition and independent media since coming to office in 1994.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.