Opposition groups are planning to stage a rally in Minsk on Thursday, August 6, ahead of the presidential election on Sunday, August 9. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has called on supporters to rally at Peoples' Friendship Park at 17:00 (local time). A heightened security presence as well as localized disruption to transportation should be anticipated in the vicinity of the rally. A similar rally on Thursday, July 30, was well attended with over 50,000 people reported at the rally.
Further protests and rallies are likely in the run-up to the Belarusian presidential election.
Police have detained several hundred anti-government demonstrators over the past few weeks in efforts to quell anti-government sentiment prior to the election. The majority of 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 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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