The demonstration, which takes place under the slogan “March of Heroes”, is dedicated to the arrested leadership of the opposition, Maryja Kalesnikav, and other leaders of the protest movement, who are either imprisoned or expelled from the country by the authorities with brutal threats. The DPA agency wrote that according to observers, 150,000 Lukashenko opponents met in the metropolis this time, in any case more of them came than last Sunday.
According to the media, the main crowd of protesters dispersed in Minsk in the evening around eight o’clock (19:00 CEST). It reopened all seven metro stations in the center, which were closed during the protests, and the authorities also stopped blocking mobile internet to make communication between protesters more difficult.
The interior denied and later confirmed the warning shot
According to a correspondent for the Russian state agency TASS, protesters met in the center from various districts in Minsk. However, in some places their path was blocked by police officers and police cars. Independence Square, where protesters traditionally gather, has been cut off by barriers set in adjacent streets. The non-state Belarusian server Tut.by also wrote about military equipment and cars with barbed wire.
A long crowd in several columns bypassed the Palace of Independence, which is the representative seat of President Lukashenko and is guarded by strong divisions of armed members of the Interior Ministry troops. There are also Antons ready to transport arrested people, buses and water cannons.
The media reported that a warning shot was fired at protesters near Lukashenko’s headquarters. The Interior Ministry initially responded by stating that it did not know anything like that, but later admitted from footage of the incident that it had fired a police officer to “stop the illegal actions” of a group of people.
According to TASS, police began arresting people for demonstrations before the protests began. The agency’s rapporteur also reported in the evening that police had used tear gas against the demonstrators in some places. According to Tut.by, the Ministry of the Interior said that more than four hundred protesters had been detained in Minsk by 19:00 (18:00 CET).
It will also be demonstrated in other cities
Apparently, several dozen people were detained by police in other cities. Tut.by informed about demonstrations in Grodno, Gomel, Lida, Babrujsk, Vaukavysk, Baranovichi, Navapolacko, Navagrudak, Mogilev.
Police officers acted harshly during arrests in Brest, among others, where they also used a water cannon to disperse people, and in Vitebsku. They also document the brutality shots from the town of Žodzina, where one of the policemen punched a woman who had not provoked him with a blow to the face.
Belarus is experiencing the biggest protests since independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. They erupted after the August 9 presidential election, after which Lukashenko, who has ruled the country hard for 26 years, has declared himself the clear winner.
However, the opposition considers the results to be falsified, nor has the European Union recognized them. Every Sunday, according to estimates by the opposition and journalists, around 100,000 people take part in protests in Minsk.