Belarus protest: Police clashes and a dozen arrests

A day after the meeting of President Alexander Lukashenko with detained opposition leaders, authorities cracked down on Minsk protesters.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said the opposition would continue to demand fresh elections. Police deploy water cannon and stun grenades and detained hundreds of demonstrators in Minsk on Sunday after Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko raised hopes for change by meeting jailed opposition figures.

The harsh crackdown in Belarus

Large numbers of black-clad masked police with internal troops and men in plain clothes emerged from minibusses. They ran towards protesters in the capital Minsk while pulling some to the ground and hitting them with batons.

Consequently, medics tended to the injured, bandaging those who had been left bleeding.
In one video, filmed by a reporter for the Nasha Niva independent newspaper, internal troops appear to run towards demonstrators while threatening them with guns.

“In Minsk at least, police used the water cannon and stun grenades,” interior ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova said. Protesters are still gathering to call for an end to the Lukashenko regime, who claimed victory in August’s recent presidential election.

The inevitable reason and numerous casualties

Neither the European Union nor the United States recognized Lukashenko’s inauguration for a sixth term. They all agreed that the polls were not free and fair alongside condemning alleged abuse and detained protesters’ torture.

Protesters came out on Sunday, carrying umbrellas, as it was a rainy afternoon. Protesters dub the latest weekly demonstrations since the elections as the “March of Pride.”

The weekend’s violence came a day after Lukashenko held a Minsk jail meeting with detained opposition leaders. This unusual event raised questions about whether he was preparing to make concessions.

Frank Viakorka, the opposition and adviser’s member, shared images of the protests. She further said the crackdown was proof Lukashenko was not serious about talks to resolve the conflict.

The harsh detainment in Belarus

Russia’s Interfax news agency said that the police had detained some 50 people. They used stun grenades to dispel demonstrators.

Tsikhanouskaya, now based in Lithuania, has called for new elections and all political prisoners to be free.

“We will continue to march down peacefully and persistently and demand what ours: new free and transparent elections is,” she wrote on her Telegram channel on Sunday.

Several hundred protesters dodged police who closed off main streets to prevent marchers from reaching the city center.

This underlines the police crackdown once more that the regime can lead an honest and open dialogue with society.

Image courtesy of Drop of Light/Shutterstock

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