Several thousand people gathered in Minsk on Thursday, June 18, in demonstrations sparked by the arrest of an opposition candidate in the presidential election. Viktor Babariko, who is predicted to be the strongest challenger to incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko in the presidential election on August 9, was arrested on charges of corruption, theft, and money-laundering on Thursday. Protesters formed a human chain and held up traffic in their vehicles during the protest. Lukashenko has faced criticism for his handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the economic situation, as well as for overzealously cracking down on dissenting voices. Demonstrations against Lukashenko and his government have been witnessed increasingly as the election draws closer.
Further protests are likely in the run-up to the election. Associated disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected around demonstration sites.
Individuals in Belarus are advised to monitor developments, avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, and anticipate a heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites.
Copyright and Disclaimer