The Belarusian riot police again cracked down on tens of thousands of protesters in the capital Minsk on Sunday. The protesters took to the streets for the eighth weekend in a row out of anger at the election results of August 9.
Journalists’ accreditation withdrawn
Because the accreditations of foreign journalists were declined on Friday, a large part of the reporting comes from the Telegram messaging app. There, images show how thousands of people march through the capital. People are also demonstrating in other places in the country.
The protesters on Sunday demand that the government release political prisoners. A local journalist in Minsk reports that the protesters are trying to surround a prison. Demonstrators were also arrested during the riot police, but it is unclear how many. The Russian news agency Interfax talks about at least ten arrests.
The protesters carried white, red and white flags of the protest movement. Police forces then deployed water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. In addition, internet traffic in Minsk was shut down in the afternoon. This made it difficult for the protesters to share images and videos via the Telegram app.
It is estimated that on the 57th day of the demonstrations on Sunday, several tens of thousands of demonstrators were in Belarus.
Order troops are Sunday massively present to stop the demonstrations (photo: ANP).
The Belarusian government withdrew the accreditations of all foreign journalists on Friday and forced them to leave the country. The authorities did this in revenge because of the European sanctions introduced on Friday and previously threatened to ban foreign media from the country with sanctions. The EU sanctions target 40 people around President Alexander Lukashenko. They are not allowed into the EU and any assets have been frozen.
In Belarus it has been restless for weeks due to mass demonstrations after the election results of 9 August. Lukashenko won it with more than 80 percent of the vote, according to the official election results, but almost everyone assumes election fraud. Almost the entire opposition has since been arrested or fled abroad.