Monday, August 17, 2020

The largest protest in a history of Belarus, close to 200k

The largest demonstration in the history of independent Belarus took place on Sunday in Minsk. Its last participants left the Independence Square late in the evening. They were demanding the departure of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the release from prisons of the participants from earlier post-election protests. Supporters of change in the country also demonstrated in other cities. 

According to independent media reports, employees of the state-owned television joined a nationwide strike in protest against the rigged election results and police brutality.

Independent media wrote about 200,000 participants of the Sunday rally and the Freedom March in Minsk. The number is difficult to verify, but it is certain that so far there has not been such a large demonstration in independent Belarus.

The demonstrators gathered for several hours at the crossroads near the Hero City Monument in Minsk, before they marched to the main square of the capital - Independence Square. There were no organizers, no speeches during the demonstration, the march was spontaneous and depended on self-control of the participants. There was some coordination over the internet and social media.

Before the supporters of the protesters arrived at Independence Square, there was a demonstration of support for Alyaksandr Lukashenka, attended by the Belarusian leader himself. He said that if new elections are called, "Belarus will die as a state", and that there are NATO tanks and planes near the Belarusian borders.

The President of Belarus, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, announced that there would be no new presidential elections in the country and that he would not do anything under pressure. This was his reference to the ongoing protests in Belarus. Citizens are demanding that Lukashenka leaves the office of president.