Belarus will hold its presidential election on August 9 and a heightened security presence is expected amid increasing political tension in the build-up to the election. The campaign period officially began on July 15 and while pre-approved campaign rallies are likely to be peaceful, an increase in opposition protests and other gatherings have already been witnessed in recent weeks.
Official campaigning, as well as further opposition gatherings, are expected in the coming weeks amid a heightened security presence.
Political tensions have increased after a number of arrests of opposition figures in recent months and the rejection of two main opposition candidates' - Valery Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko - applications to run by the Central Election Commission on July 14. Opposition demonstrations have been witnessed in Minsk and other urban centers nationwide on July 14, 15, and 19. Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya has emerged as the leading opposition challenger to President Alexander Lukashenko and thousands attended her first campaign rally on Sunday, July 19.
Individuals in Belarus are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media.
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