Sunday 22nd November 2020
The demonstrations against the Belarusian ruler Lukashenko have been going on for more than three months. This time, too, the forces act brutally against the peaceful protest. Meanwhile, the organizers reacted confidently to recent provocations by the president.
Despite police violence, thousands of people peacefully protested against ruler Alexander Lukashenko for the 15th time in a row at a Sunday demonstration in Belarus. In the capital Minsk, people first gathered in their residential areas and then formed protest marches with the historic white-red-white flags.
The police began making arrests at the beginning of the unauthorized meetings. The Wesna Human Rights Center published the names of more than 300 people arrested that evening. There were around 1,000 arrests on each of the last two Sundays. In other cities too, people again called for Lukashenko’s resignation.
The power apparatus gathered hundreds of uniformed men from the Ministry of the Interior and the army in Minsk. Prisoner trucks, water cannons and other heavy equipment were ready. The police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd, Belarusian media reported. The large squares of the capital were cordoned off with metal bars, as can be seen in pictures on the news channel Telegram. Videos of police beating protesters were circulating on the online services.
Internet and local transport restricted
The authorities downgraded the mobile internet and blocked around ten metro stations – this was to prevent mass gatherings. This time the action was officially announced as a “March against Fascism”. The organizers responded to the latest insults from Lukashenko that they were fascists.
Most recently, the death of the artist and activist Roman Bondarenko after his arrest caused a shock. 5000 people attended Bondarenko’s funeral in Minsk on Friday. In total, at least four people died in the protests.
The protests of the democracy movement have been going on for more than three months. The movement also calls for an end to police violence against peaceful demonstrators, the release of all political prisoners and new elections. Lukashenko claims victory in the presidential election on August 9 with 80.1 percent of the vote – after 26 years in office. The opposition sees civil rights activist Svetlana Tichanowskaya as the winner of the election.