Police fired warning shots, used stun grenades, and detained an unconfirmed number of protesters as tens of thousands of people gathered for a 12th straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations in Minsk on Sunday, November 1. At least two separate columns of protesters gathered in the capital, one of which numbered around 20,000. Authorities had restricted mobile phone internet connection and closed several metro stations ahead of the planned protests to call for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Further demonstrations are expected in Minsk and across other urban centers nationwide in the near term, and these will likely be accompanied by a large security presence and disruptions to overland transport.
Protests have been taking place throughout Belarus since Lukashenko was declared the winner of the country's August 9 presidential election in a result which opposition groups denounced as fraudulent. The large-scale protests and increased political tensions have seen 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 stun grenades in attempts to disperse crowds.
Those scheduled to travel to Belarus should monitor developments regarding the increased border restrictions and review their travel itineraries accordingly. Travelers in the country should 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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