Tens of thousands of protesters demanding President Alexander Lukashenko step down have flooded into Minsk, at one point demonstrating briefly near his residence in a pointed display of opposition to his long rule.
Huge nationwide demonstrations following the country's disputed election on August 9 have provided the biggest challenge yet to the veteran leader's 26 years at the helm and tested the loyalty of his security forces.
The streets of Minsk turned red and white on Sunday as a flood of demonstrators carried flags symbolising their opposition to Lukashenko and chanted for him to leave power and for new elections to be held.
The crowd marched towards his residence at the Independence Palace, on the northern edge of the capital, the majority gathering at some distance.
A smaller group approached to between 10 and 20 metres of the building.
A helicopter was seen flying out of the residence as protesters milled below. Video circulated by state media journalists later showed Lukashenko arriving by helicopter at the residence holding a rifle.
After less than an hour, the majority of the protesters began to march back towards the city centre.
It was the first time in this month's demonstrations protesters have neared the building's doors. It was surrounded by lines of armed police.
The approach to the palace took place after a crowd estimated by witnesses to number as many as 200,000 rallied in central Minsk for the second weekend in a row.
The crowd began to disperse in early evening without apparent clashes with police.
Earlier, the defence ministry said it would take on security around national memorials and issued a direct warning to protesters whom it likened to fascists.
The ministry said memorials, specifically ones to the dead of World War Two, were holy sites that must not be desecrated.
"We categorically warn: any violation of peace and order in such places - you will have the army to deal with now, not the police," it said in a statement.
"We, soldiers, will not allow these places to be desecrated, there can be no fascism there!"
The interior ministry issued its own statement warning that any unsanctioned protests would be considered illegal.
It said 22 people had been arrested on Saturday when smaller-scale protests took place across 55 towns and cities.
Protests triggered by Lukashenko's claims of a landslide election victory on August 9 found a leader in opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former teacher who took her jailed husband's place.
Following threats to her safety, Tsikhanouskaya fled to neighbouring Lithuania.
Traditional ally Russia issued some of its strongest comments yet criticising Tsikhanouskaya on Sunday.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described her role as intentionally destabilising and said her statements were directed at a Western audience.