News Alerts

10 Aug 2020 | 10:52 AM UTC

Belarus: Thousands arrested as police disperse protests in Minsk and Brest following presidential election on August 9 /update 12

Belarus News Alert

At least 3000 arrested as police disperse protests in Minsk and Brest following presidential election on August 9; further protests likely in near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/10/2020, 12:00 AM until 8/12/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Minsk

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Event

Police are reported to have detained around 3000 people as they dispersed anti-government protests in Minsk on the evening of Sunday, August 9, following the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko. Clashes between security forces and protesters broke out in central Minsk following a planned opposition rally earlier in the day attended by thousands of activists, with police reportedly using tear gas, water cannon, and stun grenades to disperse crowds. At least one protester was reported to have been killed in the unrest when a police vehicle was driven into a crowd in the capital, although officials denied that there had been any fatalities in the incident. Protests and associated clashes were also reported in other towns and cities, including Brest, Gomel, Grodno, and Vitebsk.

Major disruptions to mobile communications networks and internet access were reported in Minsk and multiple other areas during voting on Sunday, although it is currently unclear when services are likely to be fully restored.

Further protests are likely in the near term, as is a heightened security presence in Belarus' main cities.

Context

Election officials announced on Monday, August 10, that Lukashenko had won 80 percent of the vote in Sunday's poll, with the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanouskaya gaining 9.9 percent. Lukashenko faced few challenges to his sixth term as president, with his main rivals Valery Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko being barred from standing. However, the run-up to the election saw increased political tensions and opposition protest activity.

Advice

Those 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 politically sensitive topics in public or on social media.

 

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