Belarus braces for further protests

Ulf MauderAAP
Opponents of the Belarusian president have called for further protests across the country.
Camera IconOpponents of the Belarusian president have called for further protests across the country.

Opponents of controversial President Alexander Lukashenko have called for new mass protests across Belarus.

In a video clip, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called on her fellow Belarusians to continue fighting for a country in which it is worth living in the so-called “March of Justice”.

“Every week you show yourself and the world that the Belarusian people are a force,” the 38-year-old said from exile in the European Union.

The demonstrations are scheduled to begin around 1pm on Sunday at various locations across the country.

Police again cordoned off Independence Square in the centre of Minsk in preparation for the rally.

The protests are organised by a group called Nexta Live, communicating to its two million subscribers through Telegram.

There, the group also published the named and details of 1000 members of the security forces involved in the brutal suppression of protests, with the help of a group of hackers called Cyber-Partisans.

Nexta Live said they had warned the security forces ahead of the move not to carry out the government’s “criminal orders”.

The security forces are clad in balaclavas and uniforms without identity badges, in violation of Belarusian and international rules, say human rights activists.

The Belarusian opposition said that members of the security forces responsible for the deaths, injuries and arrests of protesters would be found.

The Interior Ministry said those responsible for the data leak would be found and punished.

According to observers, around 150,000 demonstrators took to the streets last Sunday.

On Saturday women had called for Lukashenko’s resignation in a protest march. There were more than 400 detentions, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday, with 385 protesters released again.

The security forces have recently become increasingly brutal against the mostly peaceful demonstrators. Lukashenko, often referred to as Europe’s last dictator, had called for more rigorous action in the event of unauthorised protests.

Since the presidential election on August 9, there have been daily protests in Belarus. Lukashenko had been officially declared the election winner with 80.1 per cent of the vote after 26 years in office. The opposition, however, says the vote was rigged and considers Tikhanovskaya to be the real winner.

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