Alertes de sécurité

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24 sept. 2020 | 17h36 UTC

Belarus: Opposition groups call for nationwide strike September 24-25 /update 49

Belarus Alerte de sécurité

Opposition groups call for nationwide strike between September 24-25; avoid associated protests

TIMEFRAME expected from 24/9/2020, 12h00 until 1/10/2020, 11h59 (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Belarus

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Event

Opposition groups have called for a nationwide strike between Thursday, September 24, and Friday, September 25, in response to the inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko's sixth term as president, which took place on Wednesday, September 23. Activists have urged citizens to block roads across the country and to rally in civic centers. They also called on workers at state-owned enterprises to protest.

Opposition groups have also called for marches across the country from 14:00 (local time) on Sunday, September 27, as part of a "general offensive" of anti-government unrest. 

Demonstrations are likely to be met with a strong response from security forces, with associated disruptions to transportation and business.

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. 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.

The abrupt inauguration of Alexander Lukashenko's sixth term as president on September 23 provoked calls for nationwide demonstrations. In Minsk, hundreds of demonstrators were detained by security forces who used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds who had blocked traffic on Independence Avenue. Opposition figure, Pavel Latushko, also urged Belarusians to engage in indefinite civil disobedience following the inauguration.

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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