Protests against Lukashenko continue – More than 800 arrests in Belarus

You won’t let yourself get down. Again thousands of people in Belarus took to the streets to demonstrate against the ruler Lukashenko and against police violence. And hundreds of them are now being held in police custody.

During renewed protests, more than 800 demonstrators were arrested on Sunday in the capital Minsk and other cities.

The Belarusian police opened water cannons in the center of Minsk and used batons to stand in front of the demonstrators. Mobile internet access has been restricted, and subway stations have been closed, AFP reporters reported. Nevertheless, several thousand government critics gathered, many of them wearing the opposition colors white and red.

Ruler Lukashenko this Saturday at the opening of a nuclear power plant in BelarusPhoto: Maxim Guchek / dpa

According to the news website, those arrested include the Olympic decathlete Andrei Krautschanka, Miss Belarus 2008 Olga Schinikova and a dozen journalists. “This country has turned into a prison,” said 65-year-old protester Elena Vasilevich. A “military junta” arrested people for no reason, the Belarusians wanted to “finally live in a free and democratic country”, added the pensioner.

The protests would last “until victory”, opposition leader Tichanovskaya announced on Sunday. The past 90 days have shown that the authorities have “lost all legitimacy and power”.

Opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya in Copenhagen at the end of October

Opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya in Copenhagen at the end of OctoberPhoto: Emil Helms / dpa

The 38-year-old, who is currently in Lithuania, also hoped to meet the elected US President Joe Biden. She had congratulated Biden on Saturday’s election victory. In the online service Telegram she expressed her hope that Biden “will soon be able to meet the fairly elected president of a new and free Belarus”. Lukashenko, meanwhile, reviled the election in the USA as a “parody of a democracy”.

Tichanovskaya added that Biden had “taken a clear position several times in support of the Belarusian people”. In the past, Biden had announced that as president he would extend the sanctions against Lukashenko’s government.

The August 9 election was overshadowed by massive allegations of fraud. The demonstrators are demanding the transfer of power to Tichanovskaya. The protests, which have been taking place every Sunday for three months, have already resulted in several dead, hundreds of injuries and arrests. The EU also described the vote as neither free nor fair and imposed new sanctions against politicians in the country.


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