Protests In Belarus Were Again Accompanied By Police Violence
According to the AP agency, the police dispersed the protesters with batons, blinding grenades and water cannons. Photos and videos in Internet forums, for example, show injured protesters sitting in the streets with bandages around their heads. In the evening, the human rights organization Vyasna spoke of more than three hundred arrests. According to the Belarusian Union of Journalists, there were also at least 35 journalists among those detained.
Lukashenko has been facing widespread protests since his officially announced victory in the August presidential election, which the opposition considers to be rigged and which is not recognized by the European Union. Today, the opposition called for a “march of pride.” “We will show that we are tirelessly striving for freedom, progress and change,” they said.
According to the Tut.by server, the police had already arrested journalists en masse before the demonstration in the capital, whom they took to police offices under the pretext of checking documents. Among those detained were not only a reporter for the Tut.by server itself and people from other independent media, but also a reporter and photographer of the Russian state agency TASS and even photo reporters of the Belarusian state agency Belta. TASS later reported that its rapporteurs had been detained twice during the day.
The media also reported fierce skirmishes and dozens of arrested protesters from around the Heroes’ Memorial. “People stood and didn’t run. Eventually, the police started beating them with batons, they intervened really brutally,” the Onliner.by server wrote. According to Tut., disguised people with batons and in civilian clothes also intervened against the demonstrators. “Fifty people have been arrested,” Interfax reported, citing eyewitnesses saying some protesters opposed it. Police intervened hard and several wounded had to be treated.
Independent media have reported since this morning the passage of columns of armored vehicles through Minsk, as well as the deployment of heavy police units in the center of the metropolis. At the request of the authorities, mobile operators reduced the speed of the mobile Internet and warned of connection outages. TASS recalled that this has been happening every Sunday in recent weeks, when the opposition holds protests.