Monday, September 7, 2020

Belarus: 100,000 marched toward presidential palace. Hundreds arrested

 On Sunday, close to 100,000 people (according to BBC, AP, Yahoo News...) were seen marching toward the presidential palace heavily guarded by the police and military and barbed wire fence.  

The protesters walked close to the cordon formed by OMON (militarized anti-riot units) officers and soldiers of the "internal" troops with water canons and troop carriers. 

"Go away!" and "Shame!" - chanted the protesters.

In the capital, the arrests began even before the opposition's Unity March even began. The police detained people going to a demonstration in the vicinity of the Puszkińska Street and Uschod metro station, as well as on Czebotariowa Street; Access to the center of Minsk was blocked.

The mass arrests came after the end of over 100,000 protests, as people began to break up into smaller groups and leave.

Violent arrests, including those of minors, took place during a protest in Grodno, according to reports from independent media, citing witnesses. There, the police were to use tear gas against demonstrators.

Yesterdays reports gave an estimate of about 200 arrests, This morning, the official number given by the authorities was 633.

Last week a number of opposition figures have fled the country. On Saturday, activist Olga Kovalkova became the latest to say she had taken refuge in neighboring Poland amid threats of imprisonment.

Bloomberg reports that: "Three of the Belarusian opposition’s top organizers were reported missing Monday, the day after tens of thousands joined protests in the country’s capital that kept up pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to hold new elections."