Alertes de sécurité

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25 oct. 2020 | 20h50 UTC

Belarus: Police clash with anti-government protesters in Minsk October 25 /update 62

Belarus Alerte de sécurité

Police clash with anti-government protesters in Minsk on October 25; further unrest likely

TIMEFRAME expected from 25/10/2020, 12h00 until 27/10/2020, 11h59 (Europe/Minsk). COUNTRY/REGION Belarus, Minsk

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Event

Police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse anti-government protesters who had gathered in Minsk on Sunday, October 25, to demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko. Some 100,000 people are believed to have gathered in Minsk in defiance of a police warning that the gatherings were unauthorized, with tens of thousands marching towards Independence Palace. At least one person was wounded during police crowd dispersal operations and over 120 people were also detained. Mobile internet services were disrupted and authorities temporarily closed 12 metro stations ahead of the unrest.

Opposition figure Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya has called for the public to take part in a national strike from Monday, October 26, following an ultimatum for Lukashenko to step down.

Further unrest is expected across Belarus in the coming days as the situation has shown little sign of being resolved. A heightened security presence, as well as localized disruptions, are to be anticipated in the vicinity of any demonstrations. 

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. 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.

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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