Belarus

Regional News • Europe
Belarus opens proceedings against opposition Coordination Council
Protest rally against Lukashenko. Minsk, Belarus
Protest rally against Lukashenko. Minsk, Belarus Credit: Homoatrox (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The opposition had founded the Coordinating Council after the controversial presidential election on 9 August to initiate a peaceful transfer of power. According to the opposition politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, it is to work for "fair and democratic presidential elections under international observation".

The General Prosecutor's Office in Belarus (Belarus) officially opened proceedings against the opposition Coordination Council on Thursday. In its way, the government has thus responded to an attempt at dialogue by the opposition. The opposition wanted to continue to establish direct contact with the authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Regional News • Europe
European Union rejects the results of Belarus presidential election
Belarus protesters in Minsk on August 15
Belarus protesters in Minsk on August 15 Credit: Melirius (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The European Union rejected the result of the Belarusian presidential election and planned sanctions on those behind violence against protesters.
The President of the European Council stated: "The members of the European Council condemn the disproportionate and unacceptable violence displayed by the state authorities against peaceful protesters. Violence must be avoided and, all those unlawfully detained must be immediately and unconditionally released. Civil society and opposition actors engaged in discussions of political transition must be protected from arbitrary arrests and violence. The EU expects a complete and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses."
Alexander Lukashenko and Russian officials point to EU "interference" in the Belarus Protests.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
The German government denies recent call between Merkel-Lukashenko happened
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko Credit: Serge Serebro, Vitebsk Popular News (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Reuters report that a spokesman for the German government denied that any phone call had taken place between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Belarus's Alexander Lukashenko since the August 9 election.

Earlier Monday Interfax news agency reported Alexander Lukashenko said he received a phone call on Sunday from the German Chancellor.

Regional News • Europe
Belarus president Lukashenko stated that "until you kill me, there will be no other elections"

During a speech where Lukashenko addressed workers at a tractor plant stated that "we held elections already. Until you kill me, there will be no other elections".

The Belarusian state TV has aired some footage of the speech which showed workers yelling "go away".

Regional News • Europe
Workers at Belarus state TV turn against Lukashenko
Workers at Belarus state TV turn against Lukashenko
Credit: via Twitter

The workers of the main Belarusian state television channel BT have taken an open position against Alexander Lukashenko by joining the strikes that are ongoing in the country following the elections.

In addition, the television channel OHT has aired a segment that shows Lukashenko as he intends to give a speech in front of workers, but they chant in protest against him.

Regional News • Europe
Lukashenko states that Putin will help secure Belarus if requested

The Belarusian state news agency Belta has reported that Lukashenko stated Putin will help him if requested. As Belarus sees continued protests against President Alexander Lukashenko following the elections on Sunday, Lukashenko has now stated that if he requests help to secure the safety of the state, Putin will help.

Putin has yet to confirm the claim and it is unclear if the help would be to shut down protests or only in case of an external threat.

Lukashenko has also been quoted that the consequence for state workers that strike should be to fire them.

Regional News • Europe
Freed protesters in Belarus describe being beaten and tortured by police, Amnesty International reports
Freed protesters in Belarus describe being beaten and tortured by police, Amnesty International reports
Credit: Witold Dobrowolski via Twitter

Amnesty International's director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Marie Struthers has stated that "former detainees told us that detention centres have become torture chambers, where protesters are forced to lie in the dirt while police kick and beat them with truncheons".

Multiple people including a Polish journalist have come forward to support the claims of torture. Witold Dobrowolski has stated on Twitter that he has been "kidnapped, tortured and sent to gulag" but is "now free and safe with members of polish diplomacy".

Regional News • Europe
Belarus has started to release prisoners
Street poster from the protests
Street poster from the protests Credit: Homoatrox (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

After the police in Belarus have detained thousands of people during the protests against President Alexander Lukashenko and his alleged election manipulation, the authorities have now started to release some of the imprisoned protesters.

The move comes as the European Union is discussing if new measures will be placed against Alexander Lukashenko or the country of Belarus over the political situation.

Regional News • Europe
Lithuania prepares to grant access to the country for Belarusians in light of protests
Representative image Brest (Belarus) border checkpoint
Representative image Brest (Belarus) border checkpoint Credit: Szajci (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Lithuanian Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė has announced that "in light of the current developments in the neighboring country" people from Belarus should be excluded from the entry restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She referenced that "these are foreigners coming to Lithuania for special humanitarian purposes" and a spokesperson for the government has stated that people from Belarus will be able to apply for humanitarian help. The procedure for the application process the expected to be confirmed on Thursday.

Technology • Games
Police in Belarus detains professional esports athlete Oleg "Lasthero" Demidovich, location unknown
Police in Belarus detains professional esports athlete Oleg "Lasthero" Demidovich, location unknown
Credit: B8 Twitter

The professional Dota 2 esports organization B8 has announced that one of their players has been detained by the police in Belarus. On Tuesday evening he went out to meet with friends on Victoria Square in Minsk. According to the statement "police officers approached them and, for reasons unknown to us, took them into Victoria Square metro station building, where there were already about 50 detainees".

On Wednesday his friends found out that he had been detained. His exact location and condition are unknown, but his friends suspect him to be detained in a preliminary prison in the Zhodino, Minsk region.

Demidovich currently plays for the organization of Danil "Dendi" Ishutin the winner of the Dota 2 world championships "The International" in 2011.

Regional News • Europe
Police in Belarus admits that they have used live rounds against protestors

The interior ministry in Belarus has published a statement regarding the use of police force in the ongoing protests following the election on Sunday.

It states that "warning shots did not stop" the protestors and that "to protect the lives and health of officers, firearms were employed. One of the assailants is injured". According to the official numbers from the ministry over 1,000 people were arrested in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday taking the number of total arrested people to at least 4,000.

As the internet is still partially shut down in Belarus, information is scarce but one video shows arrested people being held lying face down outside on a floor at a police station in Minks. Other videos show police hitting and ramming cars as the protests escalate further.

Regional News • Europe
Opposition candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya left Belarus

After the presidential election in Belarus, the opposition candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya left the country and is now in the EU country Lithuania. The 37-year-old is now safe, said the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius on Twitter. The minister had previously expressed concern for the safety of the mother of two in view of the violence in Belarus.

Regional News • Europe
Belarus: Opposition leader Tikhanovskaya has gotten in contact with her headquarters

After filing a formal complaint with the Belarusian Central Election Commission to demand a recount of the votes in the election, the leader of the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya hasn't been heard of for several hours. During that time the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania had voiced concerns regarding her security.

Her headquarter has now announced that she has gotten in touch and that "everything is fine" as protests throughout Belarus are still ongoing and have turned violent.

Regional News • Europe
Belarus opposition leader Tikhanovskaya's location "not known", safety concerns according to Lithuanian foreign minister

The Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius has tweeted that he has tried to reach Svetlana Tikhanovskaya for "several hours" without being successful. He added that "her whereabouts not known even to her staff" and that he is concerned for her safety.

Regional News • Europe
Belarus election: Lukashenko receives nearly 80%, violent clashes are happening over alleged election fraud
Belarus election: Lukashenko receives nearly 80%, violent clashes are happening over alleged election fraud
Credit: via Twitter User @eglod_katia

The long term authoritarian president of Belarus has received nearly 80 percent of the votes in the elections according to preliminary exit polls. Following the announcement of the preliminary results and the claim from the Honest People association that observers found over 5096 violations, protests have broken out and turned violent.

The internet has gone down for parts of the country as the protests continue. Multiple opposition politicians had been detained by the police over the past days and weeks which already lead to tension upcoming to the election.

Regional News • Europe
Three women alliance in Belarus attempts to end Lukashenko's presidency of 26 years
Crowd at a Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya campaign rally in Belarus in July 2020. Three women are holding paintings of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, and Maria Kolesnikova.
Crowd at a Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya campaign rally in Belarus in July 2020. Three women are holding paintings of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, and Maria Kolesnikova. Credit: Uladz Hrydzin for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

With most potential opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko locked up as political prisoners and only one approved opposition candidate, three women in Belarus attempt to bring political change to the Eastern European country.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a foreign language teacher, began her campaign in Minsk, supported by Maria Kolesnikova, and by Veronika Zepkalo. Kolesnikova was the campaign chief of former candidate Viktor Babariko, while Zepkalo is the wife of Valery Tsepkalo, also a former presidential candidate.