A taxi driver in Belarus has become an unlikely hero of the protests against veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko after helping a man escape from riot police.

Footage of the event has transfixed social media users, who have avidly shared the dramatic incident.

The 16-second video clip, filmed by a Euroradio.fm reporter, features a movie-like pursuit and escape that unfolded in a Minsk residential area yesterday evening as crowds protested against what they said was the illegitimate inauguration of Mr Lukashenko.

The video, viewed by tens of thousands of people on various online platforms, shows a young man being chased by baton-wielding policemen in riot gear who then manages to jump into a taxi.

The taxi driver, who appeared to be waiting for the traffic lights to change, then apparently makes a split second judgment, lurches into the opposite lane and briefly mounts the footpath before speeding away despite the angry shouts of the policemen.

Police in Belarus detained 364 people at anti-government protests yesterday, according to the country's Interior Ministry.

The protesters accuse Mr Lukashenko, who has led his country for 26 years, of rigging the presidential election, which was held on 9 August, a charge he denies.

Mr Lukashenko, 66, was sworn in for a new term in an inauguration held without prior notice and denounced as illegitimate by the opposition, the European Union and the United States.

The EU's diplomatic chief, Josep Borrell, has said that the union does not recognise the "falsified results" of the election.

"On this basis, the so-called 'inauguration' of 23 September 2020 and the new mandate claimed by Aleksander Lukashenko lack any democratic legitimacy," he said.