Alertes de sécurité

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21 août 2020 | 23h36 UTC

Belarus: Anti-government protests continue in Minsk and other cities August 21 /update 21

Belarus Alerte de sécurité

Anti-government demonstrators continue to gather in Minsk and other cities nationwide on August 21; avoid all protests

TIMEFRAME expected from 21/8/2020, 12h00 until 27/8/2020, 11h59 (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Belarus

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Event

Anti-government protesters gathered in Minsk and other cities on Friday, August 21, amid continued demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko. Protesters reportedly formed a chain stretching from Akrestin Street to Kurapaty before moving to join a rally in Independence Square in Minsk. Demonstrators also gathered at Lenin Square in Brest while other gatherings were reported in Babruysk, Grodno, Maladzyechna, Myadzel, and Vitsebsk. The Interior Ministry announced on Friday that an organizer of a strike at the Minsk Automobile Plant was detained as workers from industries across the country continue industrial action. A number of demonstrators were also arrested outside the Minsk Tractor Factory.

Further unrest is expected across Belarus in the near term as the situation has shown little sign of being resolved. Protests may be met with a strong response by security forces, with associated disruptions to transportation and business probable.

Context 

Election officials announced on Monday, August 10, that Lukashenko had won 80 percent of the vote in the presidential election held on Sunday, August 9, with the main opposition candidate Svetalna 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 cannon, batons, and concussion grenades in attempts to disperse crowds. At least two people have been killed and around 6700 people have reportedly been arrested during the unrest, although around 2000 have since been released in a rare sign of concession from the government. After being detained on Monday night, Tikhanouskaya was forced into exile in Lithuania. Lukashenko announced on Monday, August 17, that he was ready to potentially relinquish power following a constitutional referendum; however, this has failed to prevent further unrest.

Advice

Those in Belarus 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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