Belarus Election Protests 2020

Politics • European
Vladimir Putin promises a €1.26 billion loan to Belarus at Lukashenko meeting
Vladimir Putin promises a €1.26 billion loan to Belarus at Lukashenko meeting
Credit: Kremlin

During a visit of Alexandar Lukashenko to Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would grant a loan worth €1.26 billion to Belarus. Putin also supported Lukashenko's initiative to reform Belarus's constitution.

Putin told Lukashenko, at the joint press conference: "I am sure that, considering your political experience, the work in this direction would be organised on the highest possible level."

Russia announced they would also continue the pre-planned joint military drills. At the same time, Putin emphasised that Russian soldiers would "return to their permanent deployment locations" after the routine ends.

Politics • European
Belarus: At least 100,000 rally against Lukashenko in Minsk
Protest rally against Lukashenko, 13 September 2020. Minsk, Belarus
Protest rally against Lukashenko, 13 September 2020. Minsk, Belarus Credit: Homoatrox (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

For the fifth weekend in a row, protesters took the streets in Belarus against President Alexander Lukashenko under the slogan "We won’t let him sell the country." According to news agencies, at least 100,000 people joined the rally in Minsk, with Police claiming they had detained over 400 people in the city.

The Russian Government has stepped up support, offering to potentially restructure Belarusian debt, and providing banking liquidity. It has also said Russian riot police could be made available if needed.

Lukashenko will meet Vladimir Putin Monday in the Russian resort of Sochi. It will be their first face-to-face encounter since Belarus’s presidential election on August 9.

Politics • European
Belarus: Witnesses report that opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova has been detained by masked men
Adaption: Added background and blur
Adaption: Added background and blur Credit: Maria Kolesnikova (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)

A prominent opponent of President Alexander Lukashenko has allegedly been seized from the streets of Minsk by masked men in black and taken away in a van.

Politics • European
Belarus: 100,000 protest against Lukaschenko
Representative image from Belarus protests 16.08.2020
Representative image from Belarus protests 16.08.2020 Credit: Максим Шикунец (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Belarusian police have at least arrested 100 people that protested against the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukaschenko. Across the country, tens of thousands of people have gotten to the streets despite warnings by Lukaschenko to join the opposition's pro-democracy protests.

The opposition leader Swetlana Tichanowskaja had called for a "march of unity".

Politics • European
Belarus: Anti-Lukashenko protests resume
Protest rally against Lukashenko ("Women's march"), 29 August 2020. Minsk, Belarus
Protest rally against Lukashenko ("Women's march"), 29 August 2020. Minsk, Belarus Credit: Homoatrox / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The anti-Lukashenko protests have brought tens of thousands people to the street. Protestors are met with "far more police than during previous protests", so the BBC. Many public areas such as the Independence Square in Minsk are being cordoned off by police. At least 125 people have been arrested so far.

Politics • European
Belarus: Accreditations from western media journalists removed

Journalists working for western media outlets had their accreditations removed on Saturday in Belarus. This comes a day after a German ARD TV crew was arrested in their hotel and later deported. Journalists affected worked for Reuters, Radio Liberty, AFP, AP and BBC, among others.

Politics • European
Belarus: Putin states Russian police is on standby to enter Belarus
Belarus: Putin states Russian police is on standby to enter Belarus
Credit: http://www.kremlin.ru / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the Russian president Vladimir Putin, he has police on standby that can enter Belarus in case "the situation gets out of control" for the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko who faces protests and strikes all around the country because of election manipulation.

Technology • Internet & Web
Belarus shuts down internet again
Belarus shuts down internet again
Credit: Homoatrox / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

With the first outages in early August, Belarus back then went almost entirely offline for 72 hours. On Wednesday August 26, for approximately one hour, Belarus shut down key parts of the capital’s internet once again; allegedly, the order had come directly from official state bodies.

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European • 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.

Politics • European
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".

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European
Thousands of Belarusians protest peacefully as Lukashenko claims foreign attack on country
Thousands of Belarusians protest peacefully as Lukashenko claims foreign attack on country
Credit: Nasha Niva

During the day thousands of Belarusians have protested peacefully. Workers all across the country have gone on general strike including hospital, metro and factory workers.

Videos have surfaced that show police convoys apparently leaving the area around the independence square in Minsk. Lukashenko has appeared on television claiming that outside forces from Poland, Netherlands, Ukraine, and Russia have infiltrated the country in order to spark protests and destabilize it. He ordered all people to stay in their homes and not go outside.

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European
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.

Politics • European
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.