Belarus authorities crack down on Lukashenko protesters
Hundreds of people have once again demonstrated in Belarusian cities’ streets, demanding an end to Alexander Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime, the AFP news agency reported. In the metropolis of Minsk and other cities, people released balloons in the opposition’s colors, white and red. Several protest marches passed through the capital, according to the news portal Telegram. Police detained several people.
The opposition called for the balloons to be launched, in part to avoid mass arrests before New Year’s Eve celebrations. Police have detained more than 30,000 people since the protests began more than four months ago. In addition to Lukashenko’s resignation, the democratic movement calls for new elections and the release of political prisoners.
The mass arrests have accompanied Sunday’s demonstrations against Lukashenko practically since mid-August. Since then, people have been protesting against the August 9 presidential election results, which they consider to be falsified. After the election, the authorities again declared the winner of 66-year-old Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994.
The European Union does not recognize the election results and does not consider Lukashenko to be the head of state. In the August elections, the current opposition leader Sviatlana Cichanouska, who later went into exile in Lithuania, stood up to him.