Belarus threatens to use firearms against protestors
Ahead of planned weekend anti-government protests, the Belarusian Interior Ministry has threatened to use firearms against demonstrators to “protect” citizens, order, and police. In an interview with TV channel Belarus 1 state television, BT said Mikalay Karpjankov, commander of the department, fought organized crime and corruption.
“We will use, of course, in a humane way, weapons, including firearms (…) We will use a firearm against anyone who raises his hand on a security officer,” Karpjankov said. According to him, the security authorities will use these to protect citizens and order.
The head of the department for the fight against organized crime further said that according to him, “the guys who love their homeland” are not involved, but rather people similar to criminals from organized groups from the 90s.
Belarus’s deputy interior minister threatened to use weapons against protesters on Monday. In a warning posted on both the Telegram and YouTube social networks, he said: “On behalf of the Interior Ministry, I announce that we will not leave the streets and ensure order in the country. Interior and internal forces will use special means and combat weapons if necessary.”
Mass protests have continued in Minsk and other cities since the Central Election Commission announced the victory of longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko in the presidential election on August 9. However, many Belarusians believe that the vote was falsified and that the real winner of the election is the primary opposition candidate, Sviatlana Cichanouska.
So far, the police have mainly used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse the protesters. However, as Medusa’s server points out, in August, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman announced that police had used a firearm in defense against aggressive protesters with metal poles in their hands at an August demonstration. However, her statement published on the Telegram network was probably later modified, and the word “firearm” disappeared from it.