Alertes de sécurité

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07 sept. 2020 | 01h18 UTC

Belarus: Dozens arrested amid nationwide protests September 6 /update 38

Belarus Alerte de sécurité

At least 100 arrested amid nationwide anti-government protests on September 6; avoid all protests as a precaution

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/9/2020, 12h00 until 8/9/2020, 11h59 (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Belarus

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Event

Police arrested at least 100 people amid the 29th consecutive day of nationwide anti-government demonstrations on Sunday, September 6. Reports indicate that some 100,000 people gathered in the capital Minsk to participate in demonstrations. Sources have suggested that more than 180 demonstrators in Minsk were arrested, with a further three dozen detained in Brest, and other detentions recorded in Baranavichy and Hrodna. Protests were also reported in the southern city of Homel. Demonstrations were met with a strong security presence, with armoured vehicles and riot police deployed, and barbed wire placed around government buildings and monuments. It was not immediately clear whether any casualties occurred amid the demonstrations.

Further unrest is expected across Belarus in the coming days 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 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. Lukashenko announced on August 17 that he was ready to potentially relinquish power following a constitutional referendum; however, this has failed to stem the unrest. The recent promise of military support from Russian President Vladimir Putin has seemingly emboldened Lukashenko, which may lead to a new wave of harsh crackdowns on opposition demonstrations in Minsk and other urban centers.

Advice

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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