Several thousand people protested against the ruler Lukashenko in Belarus on Sunday. Videos from the rallies testify to the brutal crackdown by the security forces against the demonstrators.
Masked security forces in Belarus countered new protest demonstrations against ruler Alexander Lukashenko with massive violence. In the capital Minsk, uniformed men used tear gas and stun grenades against peaceful demonstrators on Sunday, as videos on the Telegram news channel show. In this way they broke up individual rallies. Eyewitnesses also reported rubber bullets. The Wesna human rights group spoke of more than 900 arrests. Among them were again several journalists.
One could see how demonstrators ran away from uniformed men or prevented arrests. There were disputes. Security forces repeatedly beat people. Uniformed men with assault rifles could be seen in the streets. Police dragged and carried women and men into prison trucks and minibuses.
There were several injured. A woman was reportedly hit in the foot by a noise grenade. One video showed an unconscious man on a patch of grass receiving medical treatment from uniformed men. It is said to have been struck beforehand.
Large demonstrations on Sunday
Several thousand people were in large groups in Minsk. They shouted “Long live Belarus”. Reliable estimates were initially not available because the crowd was divided between several rallies. There were also actions in other cities. The demonstrations on Sundays are the most popular.
Again around 15 metro stations in Minsk were blocked so that demonstrators could not get into the city center. The mobile Internet was also largely switched off – this time in the morning. The authorities wanted to make it more difficult to meet at meetings. In addition, several streets and squares were cordoned off, some with heavy equipment.
Crisis for over three months
The country has been in a serious domestic political crisis since the presidential election on August 9th. The 66-year-old Lukashenko had been declared the winner with 80.1 percent of the votes. The EU no longer recognizes him as president. The opposition sees civil rights activist Svetlana Tichanovskaya as the real winner. She fled to the EU country Lithuania, fearing for her safety.
It was now the 99th day of the protest. The demonstrators remembered the death of a 31-year-old a few days ago. The man whom the democracy movement venerates as a hero is said to have been attacked. A day later he died of his injuries. “We will not forgive the death of Roman Bondarenko,” wrote Tichanovskaya before the protests began on Telegram. The people in Belarus should continue to fight together for freedom and their lives.
Allegedly already 26,000 arrests
Civil rights activist Tichanovskaya spoke of around 18,000 people who are said to have been arrested since the protests began. An alleged internal report by the security authorities was circulated at Telegram, in which there were almost 26,000 arrested persons. The Interior Ministry had recently given no information on the number of arrests. Lukashenko had repeatedly threatened to crack down on his power apparatus.
In interviews with several foreign media outlets, the 66-year-old made it clear again that he did not want to vacate his post. “Even if I am alone, I will fight with my hands for what I have built for a quarter of a century.” He declined to talk to his opponents.