- Belarusian opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gave Alexander Lukashenko a deadline until October 25 to vacate office
- Contrary to previous protests, protesters chose Sunday not to march in the center of Minsk, but in a suburb in the south of the capital, where many of the country's factories are located.
- Belarusian human rights group Viasna estimates that about 100,000 people participated in the 11th demonstration in Minsk.
Thousands of people once again took to the streets of Belarus today in protests against the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, despite an earlier threat by the authorities to use live gunfire on them. The protests resulted in the arrest and subsequent detention of over 100 people in Minsk, police said.
Today’s protests are the biggest since a recent ultimatum given to the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, in power since 1994, by the main opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa, currently a refugee in Lithuania.
On Tuesday, Belarusian opponent Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gave Alexander Lukashenko a deadline until October 25 to vacate office or the opposition will call for a demonstration of unprecedented proportions and a general strike across the country.
Contrary to previous protests, protesters chose Sunday not to march in the center of Minsk, but in a suburb in the south of the capital, where many of the country’s factories are located.
According to the Belarusian human rights organization Viasna, the police in a desperate bid to scuttle the demonstrations embarked on detaining protesters in the capital, Minsk, and other cities across the nation.
A section of the local media also reported the arrest of their news reporters covering the demonstrations live.
The Belarusian opposition has been demanding Lukashenko’s resignation as the country’s president since the country’s August 9th disputed presidential elections which gave the Belarusian leader, in power for 26 years, a sixth term.
The opposition forces considered the elections to have been rigged in favor of the veteran leader and since then hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been taking to the streets on Sundays in protest.
The demonstrations have been marked by strong and violent repression by the Belarusian security forces.
The protest movement has been under constant pressure from the authorities and many of its main figures who are either exiled abroad or have been detained.
On Monday, the last member of the Coordination Council (formed by the opposition) who was still in Belarus and at large, Serguei Dylevski, left the country for “fearing for (his) security”, according to local media.
Recently in a rather change of tact, Lukashenko held a dialogue with his imprisoned critics and opponents in a move that was however dismissed by the opposition as null and void.
“You can’t have dialogue in a prison cell,” said Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Mr. Lukashenko’s main opponent in August’s election said. She also denounced the “state terror” in Belarus.
Last week On the 11th, the demonstrators returned to the streets of Belarus, mainly in the capital Minsk to contest Lukashenko’s reelection.
More than 700 people were detained by security forces during the protests, in what has been the toughest police repression in weeks of protests, according to activists local human rights.
Belarusian human rights group Viasna estimates that about 100,000 people participated in the 11th demonstration in Minsk.
After these protests in the capital, the Belarusian Interior Ministry threatened that the police will resort “if necessary” to live bullets and “special equipment” to stop anti-government protests arguing at the same time that the protest in the country is organized and radicalized.