Minsk: tens of thousands gather in biggest protest in Belarus history
Minsk: tens of thousands of people took part in a new protest action
The leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said that the country was in &# 171; deep political crisis&# 187;
Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Minsk on Sunday, calling for the resignation of President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Despite the fact that almost a month has passed since the elections, which, in the opinion of his opponents, were rigged, the mass protests are not declining..
Several columns of demonstrators marched through the streets leading to the city center. Many carried unofficial red and white Belarusian flags, which have become a symbol of the opposition. People chanted “Long live Belarus!”, “Shame!” and other slogans.
The human rights center Viasna reported that at least 70 people were arrested. Interfax reported on several victims of clashes with security forces near the Minsk Tractor Plant.
The video posted on the TUT.BY website shows women chanting “Shame!”.
Previously, riot police could be seen setting up barbed wire around government buildings and monuments in the center of Minsk..
Videos with armored vehicles in several places of the city appeared in several Telegram channels.
Protests were also held in Grodno and Gomel.
Lukashenko refuses to negotiate with opponents and rejected calls for new elections.
He claims to have won the August 9 election with over 80 percent of the vote. His opponents and outside observers believe that this is not the case..
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (archive photo)
Meanwhile, leading opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said her country was in a “deep political crisis.”.
“The Belarusians have changed, they have awakened,” she said on Saturday from Vilnius, where she moved a few days after the vote..
According to her, the people of Belarus “no longer believe in the current government”. She stated that “it is impossible to force people to retreat”.
Earlier, in an interview with Voice of America, Tikhanovskaya said that she was working on organizing new elections, despite Lukashenka’s rejection of this idea..
“Our plan is absolutely clear. This is the organization of new elections, fair and transparent, ”she said..
Demonstrations that began after the elections became the biggest challenge for Lukashenka.
On Saturday, two unauthorized actions took place in Minsk, one of them was organized by students, the other – by women’s groups. News agencies reported that masked intelligence officers pushed dozens of students into vans.
The protests were not limited to Minsk. Several hundred people gathered on Saturday in Gomel, where police detained at least two protesters.
It is planned that Tikhanovskaya will visit Warsaw next week, where she will meet with representatives of the Polish leadership.
Tikhanovskaya’s senior aide Volga Kovalkova told reporters in Warsaw on Saturday that the Belarusian authorities forced her to leave the country..
According to Kovalkova, she was forced to lie on the floor of the special services vehicle, which brought her to the border, where she was released. She managed to get on a Polish bus after the driver recognized her.
“I consider everything that has happened over the past days and weeks to be torture. They threatened me with prolonged detention several times, ”said Kovalkova.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded from the Belarusian authorities the immediate release of all detained protesters, calling on the official Minsk to end the violence..
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