Police detained at least 250 people during demonstrations on Tuesday, July 14, which took place in the capital Minsk and several other major cities across the country, following the central election commission's decision to bar two rival candidates in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for August 9. According to media sources, several hundred people participated in demonstrations taking place in the cities of Minsk, Grodno, Gomel and Brest, and overland travel disruptions were reported as police blocked off main thoroughfares in the vicinity of the protests.
Additional associated protests are likely in the run-up to the election. Disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected around demonstration sites.
Police have detained several hundred anti-government demonstrators over the past few weeks to quell anti-government sentiment prior to the August 9 election. The majority of President Alexander Lukashenko's political rivals are either in detention or under investigation. The barring of the two main rivals - Valery Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko - makes Lukashenko's chances of remaining in power all the more likely; he has been in power for 26 years.
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.
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