TFor the 15th time in a row, thousands of people protested peacefully against ruler Aleksandr Lukashenka in Belarus during a Sunday demonstration, despite police violence. In the capital Minsk, people first gathered in their residential areas and then formed individual protest marches with the white, red and white flags of the opposition.
The police began making arrests at the beginning of the unauthorized gatherings. The Wesna Human Rights Center published the names of more than 300 people arrested that evening. On the previous two Sundays there were around 1,000 arrests.
In other cities, too, people again called for Lukashenka’s resignation. This time the action was officially announced as a “march against fascism”. The organizers responded to the latest insults from Lukashenka that they were fascists.
The power apparatus pulled hundreds of hooded uniformed men from the Interior Ministry and the army together in the capital. Prisoner trucks, water cannons and other heavy equipment were ready. Flare and noise grenades were detonated as a deterrent, as can be seen in pictures on the Telegram news channel. The Ministry of Interior in Minsk confirmed the use of “special funds”.
The large squares of the capital were cordoned off with metal bars. The authorities temporarily shut down the mobile Internet again and blocked around ten metro stations for hours. This should prevent people gathering.
Criminal trials for crimes prepared humanity
The protests of the democracy movement have been going on for more than three months. The movement also calls for an end to police violence against peaceful demonstrators, the release of all political prisoners and a new election. Lukashenka claims victory in the presidential election on August 9 with 80.1 percent of the vote – after 26 years in office. The opposition sees civil rights activist Svetlana Tichanowskaya as the winner of the election.
Tichanovskaya, who lives in exile in the EU, wants the units of the Interior Ministry, including the special police OMON, to be declared “terrorist organizations” internationally. The initiative has been initiated, she said after meeting EU politicians. Criminal trials for crimes against humanity would also be prepared.
So far, the protests have resulted in several dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested. Lukashenka remains unaffected by the protests and the EU sanctions. His trust rests, among other things, on the support of Russia.
The Nobel Prize for Literature, Swetlana Alexijewitsch, spoke in the news magazine “Der Spiegel” for a tougher approach by the West against “dictator” Lukashenka. For example, Belarus could be excluded from the international banking system. Like many members of the Coordination Council, the 72-year-old had left Minsk for a transfer of power. She left for Berlin.