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Massive Rally In Belarus Calls For End Of Lukashenka's Rule

Rogue Valley

Putin = War Criminal
DP Veteran
Apr 18, 2013
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Massive Rally In Belarus Calls For End Of Lukashenka's Rule


MINSK -- A sea of protesters packed the streets of Minsk on August 23 for a massive rally against the disputed reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and a post election crackdown amid a heavy security presence in the Belarusian capital and fresh warnings from the army. The crowd, estimated at more than 100,000 people, filled the city center for what was billed as the March of New Belarus as protests entered a 15th day in the Eastern European country of 9.5 million. The mass of protesters gathered on Independence Square, waving white and red Belarusian flags and unfurling long banners with white and red stripes. Protesters chanted "Leave!" and “Get out!” as they called for Lukashenka to step down after 26 years of authoritarian rule. Large protests were also held in other cities including Brest and Hrodno, as well as outside the country in Lithuania, where a 30-kilometer human chain was formed from Vilnius to the border with Belarus. Users of network operators had problems connecting to the internet, in another attempt by authorities to clamp down on information. Meanwhile, the Nasha Niva media site said the body of Mikita Kryutsov was found in a forest near Minsk with signs of multiple beatings. He was reported missing after taking part in protests in Minsk on August 12.

By evening, people began dispersing without clashes with riot police, in the latest instance of protesters trying to end their mobilization peacefully. The Ministry of Interior said no one was detained. After the protest largely ended, a video posted on Telegram showed Lukashenka in a helicopter flying over the city. "They fled like rats," said the authoritarian leader, who was seen stepping off the helicopter at the presidential palace wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a rifle. Lukashenka has ordered the military into full combat readiness, raising the prospect that the army may unleash a much-feared bloody crackdown to suppress unprecedented street protests. The statement came as army personnel were spotted being transported into Minsk in military transporters, just a day after Lukashenka ordered the military to take “stringent measures” against what he described as foreign-backed plans for a "color revolution" in the country. Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the opposition candidate who left for Lithuania after the election and claimed to have won from 60 to 70 percent of the vote, said on August 22 that Belarusians must "struggle for their rights" and not be distracted by Lukashenka’s claims that the country was under military threat.

At this point, it is a contest of wills. Lukashenka believes he can browbeat the opposition into submission.

Related: Mass Belarus Protests to Demand Lukashenko's Resignation
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