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24 août 2020 | 23h13 UTC

Belarus: Anti-government protesters gather in Minsk August 24 /update 26

Belarus Alerte de sécurité

Anti-government protesters gather in Minsk on August 24; avoid all protests

TIMEFRAME expected from 24/8/2020, 12h00 until 25/8/2020, 11h59 (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Minsk

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Anti-government protesters gathered in Minsk on Saturday, August 24, to demand the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko. Demonstrators gathered in Independence Square from 19:00 (local time), where protests have frequently been occurring. The gathering comes after authorities arrested two opposition figures, Sergei Dylevsky, a prominent strike leader, and Olga Kovalkova, an aide to opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Both Dylevsky and Kovalkova are members of the "coordination council" set up by the country's opposition for the potential transition of power. The government has opened a criminal case against the council, accusing it of attempting to seize power illegally. Some 200,000 people gathered in Minsk on Sunday, August 23.

Further associated demonstrations are possible in the area in the near term. Previous rallies have been met with a strong response by security forces and resulted in clashes with protesters and arrests. Associated disruptions to transportation and business are likely in the near term.


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 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. Tikhanouskaya subsequently went 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 stem the unrest.


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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