Thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets of Minsk, to the sound of drums and between the corners of a choir, to protest against President Aleksander Lukashenko. But in the seventh week of protests and after the head of state took office on Wednesday, in a secret ceremony, for a new term as president of Belarus, the crowd present was less expressive than it was. was the previous Sundays. About 50,000 people, more or less half of what was usual.
After seven weeks of permanent presence in the streets, in reaction to a presidential election won by Lukashenko with more than 80% of the vote, but considered fraudulent by the Belarusian opposition, fatigue and police action – again Many demonstrators arrested on Sunday, “Around 200”, Belarusian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Tchemodanova told AFP – the number of people on the streets of the capital, Minsk, appears to have declined.
Police forces were deployed in the streets with armored vehicles and water cannons before the first demonstrators began to join. Metro stations were closed and the streets around the Independence Palace, the official residence of the president, were barricaded and many agents were stationed there to defuse any attempt to approach the protesters.
In Minsk, according to the BBC, police fired pepper spray directly at people’s faces, while in Belarus’ second largest city, police used tear gas against protesters (against “disobedient” police said), while in Mogilev, in the east of the country, astonishing grenades were fired, according to AFP.
Svetlana Tikhanouskaia, the opposition leader who fled to Lithuania shortly after the August 9 elections, uploaded a video to be heard by protesters and to mark the 50 days of protest against the president, the biggest challenge to the regime in 26 years of power. Lukashenko.
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The Nexta Live channel on Telegram, which has more than two million subscribers, this Sunday asked the demonstrators to organize a “popular symbolic oath of the real president”, Tikhanouskaia, to respond to the secret ceremony and surrounded by the main security measures taken. conducted by Lukashenko on Wednesday.
“We have taken to the streets to stop this regime and we are doing it peacefully,” said the opposition leader in the video the day after the arrest of one hundred and a half women, who were shouting “Sveta, the president”, during a demonstration. . But, as the opponent said, in the video the police can continue to arrest: “We are millions. We win! “