Belarusian security forces again arrested dozens of protesters on Sunday during major anti-government demonstrations in the country. A local action group speaks of at least eighty arrests. The Russian news agency TASS keeps it at least ten.
Opposition strives for a peaceful transition of power
The Belarusian government often issues the official number a day later. It is estimated that several hundred thousand Belarusians took to the streets on Sunday to demonstrate against the government of President Alexander Lukashenko.
Local media describe how security forces are cracking down on the protesters. For example, water cannons were used and demonstrators were pulled over the ground in vans. In the western city of Brest, pepper spray was used against protesters and officers fired at least one warning shot into the air.
In the capital Minsk, the metro stations were closed and the internet was shut down for a few hours. Mass demonstrations were also planned in the large city of Grodno.
It is already the sixth week in a row that massive demonstrations are held in the Eastern European country. The activists want Lukashenko to leave.
Hacker group Anonymous published the personal details of a thousand police officers on Sunday. The group is angry about the crackdown by the agents and the anonymity with which thousands of protesters have been arrested in recent weeks. “No one will remain anonymous, even with a balaclava,” said the group, which threatened to publish more data.
A coordination council, led by runaway presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, is trying to bring about a peaceful power transition. Lukashenko, however, does not want to hear about this and is increasingly seeking support from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Almost all members of this coordination council have since fled or been arrested.
Tikhanovskaya speaks on Monday at an informal meeting with European foreign ministers about the situation in her country.
For weeks, protesters have been angry about the results of the August 9 elections. The incumbent President Lukashenko won it with over 80 percent of the vote. Tikhanovskaya, the most popular opposition candidate, got just over 10 percent. Hardly anyone assumes that this result is correct.