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18 Oct 2020 | 05:11 PM UTC

Belarus: Anti-government protesters gather in Minsk October 18 /update 58

Belarus News Alert

Anti-government protesters gather in Minsk on October 18; avoid all protests

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/18/2020, 12:00 AM until 10/20/2020, 11:59 PM (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Minsk

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Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in central Minsk on Sunday, October 18, amid continued demands for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko. Security forces deployed armored vehicles and blocked a number of roads within the capital before proceeding to arrest participants. Reports suggest that mobile data networks have also been disrupted within the city. Further protests were reported in the cities of Hrodna, Smarhon, and Vitsebsk, with reports suggesting that arrests occurred during events outside of Minsk.

Further demonstrations are expected across Belarus in the coming days. Protesters may be met with a strong response by security forces, with associated disruptions to transportation and business likely.


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. 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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