World News – CA – Over 100,000 march in Belarus against authoritarian ruler


KYIV, Ukraine – More than 100,000 people marched through the Belarusian capital on Sunday to protest against the country’s authoritarian ruler, who won his sixth term in an election widely seen as rigged

Demonstrators demanded the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko and the freedom of political prisoners Police used water cannons to try to disperse the crowd, but the demonstrators were not deterred

Video of the rally showed a group of protesters approaching a water cannon vehicle, opening a hatch on the side and removing pieces from the interior of the vehicle Media say the water cannon malfunctioned after that and left

Viasna human rights center said around 120,000 people attended a rally on Sunday

Mass protests have rocked Belarus for nearly two months, with largest rallies taking place on Sundays drawing up to 200,000 people The unprecedented wave of unrest was sparked by the results of the August 9 elections presidential elections which offered Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist for 26 years, a landslide victory with 80% of the vote

Her main challenger, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, got just 10% She and her supporters refused to recognize the results as valid, claiming that the result of the vote had been manipulated

In the first days after the vote, Belarusian authorities brutally cracked down on protesters, police arresting thousands and injuring dozens with batons, rubber bullets and stun grenades

The government has since reduced violence, but kept up the pressure, detaining hundreds of protesters and prosecuting key activists Many prominent members of the Coordination Council, formed by the opposition to push for a transition of power, were arrested or forced to leave the country

More than 10,000 people have been arrested since the elections and at least 244 people have been implicated in criminal cases on various charges related to the protests, Ales Bialiatski, head of the Viasna human rights center, told the ‘Associated Press More than 70 people have been declared political prisoners

Dozens of people were arrested in Minsk and other towns on Sunday Viasna posted a list of the detained protesters on its website which included more than 160 names on Sunday evening

« A campaign of intimidation and persecution, unprecedented for Europe, has been launched in Belarus against peaceful citizens who want only one thing: free elections, » said Bialiatski

According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, 11 Belarusian journalists were detained in several cities on Sunday Last week the Belarusian Foreign Ministry revoked the accreditation of all journalists working for foreign media outlets and said that they had to request new credentials

Tsikhanouskaya, who entered the presidential race to run for her husband Siarhei, a popular opposition blogger jailed in May, released a statement on Sunday supporting the protest and demanding the release of political prisoners

She was forced to leave Belarus herself out of fear for her safety and that of her children and is currently in exile in Lithuania

« These are people who, like Siarhei Tsikhanouski, have not seen their family and children for several months These are the people who suffered for their beliefs, and who are still suffering Our goal is to free them I support so all those who take to the streets of their city today, ”said Tsikhanouskaya

« Let the whole world see: Belarusians want to live in freedom, not in prison, » she added

Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, demonstration, Minsk, water cannon

News from the world – CA – More than 100,000 March in Belarus against the authoritarian ruler



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