Opposition groups have called for protests to occur across the country from 18:00 (local time) on Wednesday, September 23, to denounce the inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko's sixth term as president. Demonstrations have been called for in major cities across the country, including Minsk, where protesters will gather on Independence Avenue. Unrest is also possible in the cities of Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Lida, and Vitebsk.
Opposition groups have called for marches across the country from 14:00 (local time) on Sunday, September 27, as part of a "general offensive" of anti-government unrest. Opposition figure, Pavel Latushko, also urged Belarusians to engage in indefinite civil disobedience following the inauguration.
The demonstrations are likely to be met with a strong response from security forces, with associated disruptions to transportation and business.
Election officials announced that Lukashenko had won 80 percent of the vote in the presidential election held on August 9, 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. Opposition groups have denounced the election results as fraudulent.
Protests have taken place throughout Belarus since the election result was announced, with security forces blocking access to a number of cities as clashes with protesters were reported. Security forces have deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, batons, and concussion grenades in attempts to disperse crowds. Tikhanouskaya subsequently went into exile in Lithuania. The promise of military support from Russian President Vladimir Putin has seemingly emboldened Lukashenko and has seen a new wave of arrests during opposition demonstrations in Minsk and other urban centers.
Those in Belarus, particularly in Minsk, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, 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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