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World : NPR, Belarusian Government Keeps Increasing Crackdown On The Opposition, on September 8, 2020 3:55 PM at 3:55 PM

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NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Hanna Yahorava, the executive director at the Regional Press Publishers Association in Belarus, about the government’s increasing crackdown on its critics.


, NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with Hanna Yahorava, the executive director at the Regional Press Publishers Association in Belarus, about the government’s increasing crackdown on its critics.

World news | The Guardian, Belarus: Lukashenko vows to stay in first interview since protests, on September 8, 2020 1:51 PM at 1:51 PM

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President tells Russian journalists that if he resigned the opposition would destroy Belarus

The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has used his first interview since mass protests erupted against his rule to say he does not plan to step down soon.

Lukashenko spoke to a group of pro-Kremlin Russian journalists including the editor-in-chief of Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan, and made it clear he plans to fight to cling on to power.

Continue reading…
, President tells Russian journalists that if he resigned the opposition would destroy Belarus
The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has used his first interview since mass protests erupted against his rule to say he does not plan to step down soon.
Lukashenko spoke to a group of pro-Kremlin Russian journalists including the editor-in-chief of Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan, and made it clear he plans to fight to cling on to power. Continue reading…

News | Euronews RSS, Belarus opposition figure Kolesnikova ‘tore up passport at border’ to avoid forced exile in Ukraine, on September 8, 2020 12:42 PM at 12:42 PM

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Just in: Belarus opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova tore up her passport at the border with Ukraine to avoid being forced from the country, it’s been claimed., Just in: Belarus opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova tore up her passport at the border with Ukraine to avoid being forced from the country, it’s been claimed.

News | Euronews RSS, ‘The regime is in agony’: Belarus opposition leader slams Lukashenko, on September 8, 2020 12:16 PM at 12:16 PM

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“Our demonstrations are working and our strikes are working (…) The fact that they are kidnapping people shows that they feel fear and don’t know what to do,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told Euronews., “Our demonstrations are working and our strikes are working (…) The fact that they are kidnapping people shows that they feel fear and don’t know what to do,” Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya told Euronews.

Sputnik News – World News, Breaking News & Top Stories, Lukashenko Claims Allies Threw Opposition Figure Kolesnikova Out of Car at Ukrainian Border, on September 8, 2020 11:00 AM at 11:00 AM

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MINSK (Sputnik) – Maria Kolesnikova, a senior member of the coordination council of the Belarusian opposition, was thrown out of a car at the Ukrainian border by her own allies, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with Russian broadcasters., MINSK (Sputnik) – Maria Kolesnikova, a senior member of the coordination council of the Belarusian opposition, was thrown out of a car at the Ukrainian border by her own allies, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with Russian broadcasters.

World news | The Guardian, CCTV footage said to show car carrying Belarus opposition figure at border – video, on September 8, 2020 10:45 AM at 10:45 AM

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Footage released by the Belarusian border committee shows a car said to show the opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova driving to the Alexandrovka border with Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday.

Kolesnikova, who was kidnapped from the centre of Minsk on Monday, reportedly avoided deportation by ripping up her passport. Two other activists with her, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, are in Ukraine, officials in Kyiv confirmed

Continue reading…
, Footage released by the Belarusian border committee shows a car said to show the opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova driving to the Alexandrovka border with Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday.
Kolesnikova, who was kidnapped from the centre of Minsk on Monday, reportedly avoided deportation by ripping up her passport. Two other activists with her, Anton Rodnenkov and Ivan Kravtsov, are in Ukraine, officials in Kyiv confirmed
Belarus opposition leader ‘ripped up passport at Ukraine border’
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World news | The Guardian, ‘Systematic’: number of political prisoners in Belarus growing daily, says opposition – video, on September 8, 2020 10:30 AM at 10:30 AM

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Only two members of the Belarus opposition coordination council are still free and in the country, including himself, says Maxim Znak.

On Tuesday, Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova reportedly ripped up her passport in order to avoid being deported from her own country, according to Ukrainian media reports

Continue reading…
, Only two members of the Belarus opposition coordination council are still free and in the country, including himself, says Maxim Znak.
On Tuesday, Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova reportedly ripped up her passport in order to avoid being deported from her own country, according to Ukrainian media reports
Belarus opposition leader ‘ripped up passport at Ukraine border’
Continue reading…

News – belsat.eu, ‘Too long in office’, but still ‘irreplaceable’. Lukashenka interviewed by Russian media, on September 8, 2020 9:57 AM at 9:57 AM

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On September 8, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has granted an interview to Russia’s state-owned media outlets.

Margarita Simonyan (RT), Anton Vernitsky (Channel 1), Evgeny Rozhkov (Rossiya 1), Roman Babayan (Govorit Moskva radio station) arrived in Minsk to be present at Tuesday’s meeting in the Palace of Independence.

As the interview has not been published yet, only Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s words cited by the interviewers are known. In his opinion, there is no one who could replace him.

“Perhaps, I have been staying in office too long<…>But in fact, it is only me who can protect the Belarusians now,” he reportedly said.

Among other things, Lukashenka reiterated that he had no plans to resign.

I have been building Belarus for a quarter of a century. I am not going to just quit. If I leave, they [perhaps, opponents – Belsat] will start slaughtering my supporters,” he told Russian journalists.

Lukashenka also commented on his recently showing off an assault rifle. According to him, such offbeat public appearance indicated that that he was sticking to his guns without any intention to escape.

Аlyaksandr Lukashenka holding arms near Independence Palace. Мinsk, 30 August 2020. Photo: RIA Novosti

He made mantion of would-be amending the Constitution; holding early presidential elections would be possible only after the amendments were made, he stressed.

If the Russian journalists’ words are anything to go by, Lukashenka said that ‘Americans through their centres in Poland and Czechia’ were behind the protests, but he noted that ‘new bourgeoisie who want power’ had appeared in Belarus.

Lukashenka reportedly confirmed his readiness not to hold negotiations with the opposition Coordination Council (CC), voicing the false information that they wanted to ‘break off relations with brotherly Russia’. Earlier, Council members had repeatedly denied the allegation.

In the interview, he suggested that Tsikhanouskaya’s associate and CC member Maryia Kalesnikava, who was detained on Tuesday not far from the Belarusian border, just wanted to flee to her sister residing in Ukraine. In turn, Kalesnikava’s father has immediately refuted the statement.

Detained in Belarus. Opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava is not in Ukraine

belsat.eu

, On September 8, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has granted an interview to Russia’s state-owned media outlets.

Deutsche Welle, Belarus protests: Lukashenko raises prospect of fresh elections, on September 8, 2020 9:52 AM at 9:52 AM

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President Lukashenko has refused to rule out holding fresh elections in an interview with Russian media. An exiled Belarusian opposition leader has called for international sanctions against the regime in Minsk., President Lukashenko has refused to rule out holding fresh elections in an interview with Russian media. An exiled Belarusian opposition leader has called for international sanctions against the regime in Minsk.

Deutsche Welle, Belarus: Lukashenko raises prospect of fresh elections, on September 8, 2020 9:52 AM at 9:52 AM

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President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to rule out holding fresh elections in an interview with Russian media. An exiled Belarusian opposition leader has called for international sanctions against the regime., President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to rule out holding fresh elections in an interview with Russian media. An exiled Belarusian opposition leader has called for international sanctions against the regime.

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News, Prominent Belarus opposition leader detained on Ukraine border, on September 8, 2020 9:18 AM at 9:18 AM

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One of Belarus’s most prominent opposition leaders, Maria Kolesnikova, has been detained by state security at the border between Belarus and Ukraine almost 24 hours after she was abducted from the centre of Minsk by masked men., One of Belarus’s most prominent opposition leaders, Maria Kolesnikova, has been detained by state security at the border between Belarus and Ukraine almost 24 hours after she was abducted from the centre of Minsk by masked men.

Sputnik News – World News, Breaking News & Top Stories, Lukashenko Says He May Have ‘Overstayed a Little’ in His Post as Belarus’s President, on September 8, 2020 6:37 AM at 6:37 AM

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Belarus has been rocked by weeks of protests following the August 9 presidential election, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won his sixth term in office with 80 percent of the vote. The opposition declared their candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the winner and have demanded a ‘peaceful’ handover of power., Belarus has been rocked by weeks of protests following the August 9 presidential election, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won his sixth term in office with 80 percent of the vote. The opposition declared their candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the winner and have demanded a ‘peaceful’ handover of power.

E-International Relations, Power, People and Politics: Understanding the Belarusian Crisis, on September 8, 2020 6:16 AM at 6:16 AM

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Power, People and Politics: Understanding the Belarusian Crisis

If we are to understand the Belarus crisis through complexity and resilience-thinking, there is no turning back – only a way forward towards building a self-sustainable community of relations., If we are to understand the Belarus crisis through complexity and resilience-thinking, there is no turning back – only a way forward towards building a self-sustainable community of relations.

Sputnik News – World News, Breaking News & Top Stories, Kremlin Expects Belarusian Government to Launch Public Discussion on Constitutional Reform, on September 8, 2020 5:59 AM at 5:59 AM

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Kremlin expects the Belarusian government to launch a public discussion on the constitutional reform soon, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday., MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Kremlin expects the Belarusian government to launch a public discussion on the constitutional reform soon, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.

News – belsat.eu, Detained in Belarus. Opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava is not in Ukraine, on September 8, 2020 5:54 AM at 5:54 AM

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Маryia Kalesnikava. Мinsk, 24 August 2020. Photo: Svyatlana Far / belsat.eu

Belarusian citizen Mariya Kalesnikava has not arrived at Ukrainian border crossing points, Andriy Demchenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Border Service, told belsat.eu on Tuesday.

Early in the morning, Belarusian state-run news agency BelTA reported with reference to Belarus’ State Border Committee representative Anton Bychkouski that Maryia Kalesnikava, Ivan Krautsou and Anton Radnyankou, members of the board of the opposition Coordination Council (CC), crossed the Belarusian-Ukrainian border at about 4 am.

However, according to the Ukrainian side, only Radnyankou and Krautsou entered Ukraine. Maryia Kalesnikava reportedly tore up her passport to rule out her being withdrawn from Belarus.

Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko commented on the situation:

“It was not a voluntary departure. It was an act of forcibly expelling [citizens] from their native country. They [Belarusian authorities] failed to deport Maryia Kalesnikava from Belarus. This brave woman took action to prevent them from moving her across the border. She has stayed in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Alyaksandr Lukashenka is personally responsible for her life and health.”

Later, the Belarusian border officials have confirmed that they detained Kalesnikava. They claim she was pushed out of the car by her associates.

“When they saw a border officer, their car gained speed, which put the serviceman’s life at risk. And the vehicle left the territory of Belarus. At the same time, Kalesnikava happened to be outside the vehicle. As I see it, she might have been forced out of it in some way,” TUT.BY quotes Bychkouski.

Марыя Калеснікава
Maryia Kalesnikava on her way to Investigative Committee. 27 August 2020. Photo: Tanya kapitonava / Belsat.eu

On September 7, Tsikhanouskaya’s associate and СС member Maryia Kalesnikava was abducted in the vicinity of the National Art Museum in Minsk. Unidentified people put her in a minibus and drove away in an unknown direction.

On August 31, the election team of the imprisoned might-have-been presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka, including Kalesnikava, posted a video in which they voiced the intention to set up a political party titled Vmeste (Together).

As reported earlier, Lukashenka’s strongest rival Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the CC as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. At the moment, the Council comprises 600 members. Last week, Belarus’ Prosecutor General initiated criminal proceedings over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. The authorities believe the body aims at seizing power in Belarus. Several board members, including Belarusian Nobel Prize holder Svetlana Alexievich, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office for questioning.

Since early September, many members of the Coordination Council have been facing trouble: international mediator Liliya Ulasava was arrested by the Financial Investigations Department; strike movement activist Syarhei Dyleuski has been in custody for over two weeks; politician Volha Kavalkova was forced out of the country; political analyst Andrey Yahorau was detained during Sunday’s Unity March in Minsk.

Opposition Coordination Council insists on dialogue, blames Lukashenka for rattling sabres

belsat.eu

, Belarusian citizen Mariya Kalesnikava has not arrived at Ukrainian border crossing points, Andriy Demchenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Border Service, told belsat.eu on Tuesday.

www.washingtontimes.com stories: World, Belarus activist resists authorities’ push to leave country, on September 8, 2020 4:15 AM at 4:15 AM

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A leading opposition activist in Belarus was held on the border Tuesday after she resisted authorities’ attempt to force her to leave the country.

Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Coordination Council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with longtime leader President Alexander Lukashenko on …

, KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A leading opposition activist in Belarus was held on the border Tuesday after she resisted authorities’ attempt to force her to leave the country. Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Coordination Council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with longtime leader President Alexander Lukashenko on …

Deutsche Welle, Belarus protest leader Kolesnikova detained at Ukraine border, on September 8, 2020 2:43 AM at 2:43 AM

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Maria Kolesnikova was held in Belarus after resisting a forced deportation to Ukraine, while her two aides crossed the border, according to Kiev officials. Local media reported that she tore her passport at the border., Maria Kolesnikova was held in Belarus after resisting a forced deportation to Ukraine, while her two aides crossed the border, according to Kiev officials. Local media reported that she tore her passport at the border.

Хартия’97 :: Новости Беларуси – Белорусские новости – Новости Белоруссии – Республика Беларусь – Минск, Josep Borrell: Belarusian Authorities Flagrantly Violate Laws And International Obligations, on September 8, 2020 12:35 AM at 12:35 AM

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The head of the European diplomacy reminded Lukashenka’s regime of the sanctions., The head of the European diplomacy reminded Lukashenka’s regime of the sanctions.

Maria Kolesnikova: Germany and UK call for release of snatched Belarus opposition figureon September 7, 2020 10:30 PM at 10:30 PM

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab says safe return of Maria Kolesnikova must be Lukashenko regime’s ‘highest priority’

Germany and Britain have demanded answers on the whereabouts of senior Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova, who was reportedly snatched off the streets in central Minsk.

Kolesnikova was taken along with members of the Coordination Council, which was set up to seek a peaceful transfer of power amid widespread rejection of elections that gave Alexander Lukashenko 80% of the vote.

Continue reading…
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab says safe return of Maria Kolesnikova must be Lukashenko regime’s ‘highest priority’
Germany and Britain have demanded answers on the whereabouts of senior Belarusian opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova, who was reportedly snatched off the streets in central Minsk.
Kolesnikova was taken along with members of the Coordination Council, which was set up to seek a peaceful transfer of power amid widespread rejection of elections that gave Alexander Lukashenko 80% of the vote. Continue reading…

Belarus Protest Leader Abducted, Local Media Reports Sayon September 7, 2020 7:49 PM at 7:49 PM

Belarusian opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova attends a rally in Minsk on Sunday to protest the disputed results of the August 9 presidential election.

Maria Kolesnikova was taken away by masked men in a van Monday while walking in the capital Minsk, according to reports citing eyewitnesses. She disputed official presidential election results.

(Image credit: tut.by/AFP via Getty Images)


Maria Kolesnikova was taken away by masked men in a van Monday while walking in the capital Minsk, according to reports citing eyewitnesses. She disputed official presidential election results.

Belarus: Germany calls for ‘clarity’ over abducted opposition figureson September 7, 2020 7:39 PM at 7:39 PM

The German foreign minister has warned Belarus against failing to change course in its brutal crackdown against protesters. He called for the immediate release of opposition figures kidnapped by unidentified masked men.The German foreign minister has warned Belarus against failing to change course in its brutal crackdown against protesters. He called for the immediate release of opposition figures kidnapped by unidentified masked men.

EU, Germany, Britain pressure Belarus on snatched opposition figureon September 7, 2020 7:29 PM at 7:29 PM

Germany on Monday (Sep 7) demanded “clarity” on the whereabouts of a senior Belarusian opposition figure who allies say was snatched off the streets, after hundreds were arrested at weekend protests.Germany on Monday (Sep 7) demanded “clarity” on the whereabouts of a senior Belarusian opposition figure who allies say was snatched off the streets, after hundreds were arrested at weekend protests.

Lithuanian foreign minister calls for support for Belarusian protesterson September 7, 2020 6:00 PM at 6:00 PM

Linas Linkevicius, the Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs, has been one of the most vocal world leaders speaking up against Alexander Lukashenko. He tells host Marco Werman why he supports the protesters.Linas Linkevicius, the Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs, has been one of the most vocal world leaders speaking up against Alexander Lukashenko. He tells host Marco Werman why he supports the protesters.

Belarus protest leader detained by masked men, opposition movement sayson September 7, 2020 4:14 PM at 4:14 PM

Masked men detained Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova in central Minsk on Monday morning and drove her away in a van and two of her allies also disappeared later, the opposition movement said.Masked men detained Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova in central Minsk on Monday morning and drove her away in a van and two of her allies also disappeared later, the opposition movement said.

Abduction of the Woman Leading the Belarus Revolution Is Classic KGB ‘Terror’ Ployon September 7, 2020 3:31 PM at 3:31 PM

Abduction of the Woman Leading the Belarus Revolution Is Classic KGB ‘Terror’ PloyMOSCOW—Men in civilian clothes with masks covering their faces grabbed the woman inspiring a revolution in Belarus on Monday. They pushed Maria Kolesnikova into a minivan at about 10am local time (3am ET)—the opposition leader hasn’t been seen since.Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’ brutal leader for the past 26 years, has been cracking down on protests and threatening to arrest members of the opposition Coordination Council for an alleged “attempt to seize power,” but this is not simply a case of heavy-handed policing. It was a classic abduction, a technique of repression favored by the likes of the KGB and its Russian successor the FSB for generations. The Belarusian KGB has been known for making people “disappear” since the early years of Lukashenko’s rule; for more than a quarter of a century, he has chosen to repress his opponents. His willingness to abuse power is the main reason so many Belarusians want to see him forced out of office and put on trial. Two other members of the 600-strong Coordination Council also went missing on Monday. Frantic opposition staff and their lawyers have been touring the prisons and police stations in a desperate search for their kidnapped colleagues.“We still do not know where they keep Maria,” Kolesnikova’s aide Gleb German told The Daily Beast, six hours after his boss vanished. “The authorities are openly using methods of terror, which will only cause a bigger crisis in the country.” Millions of Belarusians have come to recognize the tall, broad-shouldered figure of Kolesnikova since this summer’s rigged presidential election, which threatens to bring down the last dictatorship in Europe even though Lukashenko fixed the result. Opposition leaders Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo united behind Svetlana Tikhanovskaya forming a powerful triumvirate of women challenging Lukashenko.The opposition say the people of Belarus chose to boot Lukashenko from power and elected Tikhanovskaya to replace him.Tikhanovskaya and Tsepkalo fled the country in the aftermath of the disputed election. Kolesnikova stayed, and during a month of subsequent rallies, protesters have emulated her trademark heart sign and repeated her slogan: “Belarusians, you are amazing! There is nothing impossible for you.”Dictator’s Gun-Toting Son, 15, Is Being Groomed as Belarus’ King JoffreyKolesnikova, who is just 38 with short blond hair and a wide smile, has been continually greeted in the street by fellow citizens who simply wanted to congratulate her on her bravery. One such well-wisher was the last person to see her on Monday before she was kidnapped outside the National Museum on Lenin Avenue in Central Minsk. “I heard the sound of a phone dropping on the ground and the stomp of somebody’s feet, turned around and saw some men dressed in civilian clothes and face masks pushing Kolesnikova into a minibus,” a woman told Tut.By, an independent news agency. One of the abductors picked up Kolesnikova’s phone, she added. The secret services in both Belarus and Russia have been practicing abductions for years. In some cases, people went missing for a few hours, in others for weeks or months. The chairman of the Memorial human rights center, Alexander Cherkasov, warned that there was an increasing sense of impunity in Belarus. “Thousands of Russian citizens have gone missing since the first war in Chechnya in 1994-96; as a rule, the FSB abduct a person to interrogate unofficially, before registering the arrest. We are currently urging authorities to find a man in Ingushetia, the FSB abducted him a week ago,” Cherkasov told The Daily Beast. “From the moment of abduction to the moment of police registration, Kolesnikova has no status, police can torture her, threaten her to get any information or confession.” Out of several hundred abduction cases documented in a seven-year period in the Northern Caucasus, the Russian courts punished only four law enforcement officers for acting unlawfully, Cherkasov said.By Monday evening all of Belarus’ major law enforcement agencies, including police, the Investigative Committee and the KGB denied they had anything to do with Kolesnikova’s disappearance. For a journalist accustomed to working in the former Soviet Union, these tactics are all too familiar. I was abducted in the disputed Donbas region of Ukraine, where armed men in masks regularly kidnapped journalists. Some of the pro-Russian militia said they were former Ukrainian military or former officers of the secret services. They would put bags over their victims’ heads and deny them their basic rights all while holding them outside of the rule of law.I Was Snatched at the MH17 ‘Morgue’The Kremlin has signaled its support for keeping Lukashenko in power and the Kremlin’s propaganda arms are accusing the Belarusian opposition of an attempted coup. President Vladimir Putin has promised to send forces to Belarus if the protests “get out of control.” Belarusians have reported seeing “little green men” in unidentified uniforms on the streets of their towns, but officially Putin says they have not intervened.Sergey Markov, a Kremlin adviser, admitted to The Daily Beast that Russians had crossed the border to assist Lukashenko. “Russian advisors are already on the ground in Belarus; I don’t think Russian special services are there yet but they are trained, of course, to control the situation,” he said.  Markov, who is a member of the Russia-Belarus Union’s public chamber, said the Belarusian leader was acting within his rights. “Lukashenko is going to arrest and investigate all organizers of the state coup; most of them will end up abroad in Lithuania or Poland,” he said. Life has changed very fast for Kolesnikova. A year ago, she lived in Germany, where she played flute and organized cultural events. She only entered politics a few months ago when the KGB arrested her close friend, Viktor Babariko, Lukashenko’s most serious opponent and a presidential candidate. She is now a revolutionary leader fighting to topple the dictator in her own right.After the disputed election, Belarusians refused to accept another election rigged in Lukashenko’s favor. Women in white dresses stood in chains in Minsk’s squares in solidarity, actors and journalists quit working for the state, thousands of workers went on strike with red-and-white flags, the symbol of independence. Kolesnikova invited both Russian and Belarusian authorities for a dialogue. She proposed re-running the election and other members of the Coordinating Council called for peaceful reforms and changes, it was hardly an armed power-grab. “This is false to say that all of us, 600 members of the Coordinating Council were going to do something,” said one of the leaders Svetlana Alexievich, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015. “A Belarusian nation is being born right in front of our eyes.”Nicolai Khalezin, the director of the Belarusian Free Theater, has known Kolesnikova for many years. He told The Daily Beast he was upset that she had been out walking in the street without protection. He fears the worst. “Lukashenko is obviously going after every leading member of the Coordinating Council,” he said. “So I would not be surprised if Kolesnikova is in the KGB prison on Gorodskoi Val and that Lukashenko has ordered her to be investigated on charges of staging a coup.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

MOSCOW—Men in civilian clothes with masks covering their faces grabbed the woman inspiring a revolution in Belarus on Monday. They pushed Maria Kolesnikova into a minivan at about 10am local time (3am ET)—the opposition leader hasn’t been seen since.Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus’ brutal leader for the past 26 years, has been cracking down on protests and threatening to arrest members of the opposition Coordination Council for an alleged “attempt to seize power,” but this is not simply a case of heavy-handed policing. It was a classic abduction, a technique of repression favored by the likes of the KGB and its Russian successor the FSB for generations. The Belarusian KGB has been known for making people “disappear” since the early years of Lukashenko’s rule; for more than a quarter of a century, he has chosen to repress his opponents. His willingness to abuse power is the main reason so many Belarusians want to see him forced out of office and put on trial. Two other members of the 600-strong Coordination Council also went missing on Monday. Frantic opposition staff and their lawyers have been touring the prisons and police stations in a desperate search for their kidnapped colleagues.“We still do not know where they keep Maria,” Kolesnikova’s aide Gleb German told The Daily Beast, six hours after his boss vanished. “The authorities are openly using methods of terror, which will only cause a bigger crisis in the country.” Millions of Belarusians have come to recognize the tall, broad-shouldered figure of Kolesnikova since this summer’s rigged presidential election, which threatens to bring down the last dictatorship in Europe even though Lukashenko fixed the result. Opposition leaders Kolesnikova and Veronika Tsepkalo united behind Svetlana Tikhanovskaya forming a powerful triumvirate of women challenging Lukashenko.The opposition say the people of Belarus chose to boot Lukashenko from power and elected Tikhanovskaya to replace him.Tikhanovskaya and Tsepkalo fled the country in the aftermath of the disputed election. Kolesnikova stayed, and during a month of subsequent rallies, protesters have emulated her trademark heart sign and repeated her slogan: “Belarusians, you are amazing! There is nothing impossible for you.”Dictator’s Gun-Toting Son, 15, Is Being Groomed as Belarus’ King JoffreyKolesnikova, who is just 38 with short blond hair and a wide smile, has been continually greeted in the street by fellow citizens who simply wanted to congratulate her on her bravery. One such well-wisher was the last person to see her on Monday before she was kidnapped outside the National Museum on Lenin Avenue in Central Minsk. “I heard the sound of a phone dropping on the ground and the stomp of somebody’s feet, turned around and saw some men dressed in civilian clothes and face masks pushing Kolesnikova into a minibus,” a woman told Tut.By, an independent news agency. One of the abductors picked up Kolesnikova’s phone, she added. The secret services in both Belarus and Russia have been practicing abductions for years. In some cases, people went missing for a few hours, in others for weeks or months. The chairman of the Memorial human rights center, Alexander Cherkasov, warned that there was an increasing sense of impunity in Belarus. “Thousands of Russian citizens have gone missing since the first war in Chechnya in 1994-96; as a rule, the FSB abduct a person to interrogate unofficially, before registering the arrest. We are currently urging authorities to find a man in Ingushetia, the FSB abducted him a week ago,” Cherkasov told The Daily Beast. “From the moment of abduction to the moment of police registration, Kolesnikova has no status, police can torture her, threaten her to get any information or confession.” Out of several hundred abduction cases documented in a seven-year period in the Northern Caucasus, the Russian courts punished only four law enforcement officers for acting unlawfully, Cherkasov said.By Monday evening all of Belarus’ major law enforcement agencies, including police, the Investigative Committee and the KGB denied they had anything to do with Kolesnikova’s disappearance. For a journalist accustomed to working in the former Soviet Union, these tactics are all too familiar. I was abducted in the disputed Donbas region of Ukraine, where armed men in masks regularly kidnapped journalists. Some of the pro-Russian militia said they were former Ukrainian military or former officers of the secret services. They would put bags over their victims’ heads and deny them their basic rights all while holding them outside of the rule of law.I Was Snatched at the MH17 ‘Morgue’The Kremlin has signaled its support for keeping Lukashenko in power and the Kremlin’s propaganda arms are accusing the Belarusian opposition of an attempted coup. President Vladimir Putin has promised to send forces to Belarus if the protests “get out of control.” Belarusians have reported seeing “little green men” in unidentified uniforms on the streets of their towns, but officially Putin says they have not intervened.Sergey Markov, a Kremlin adviser, admitted to The Daily Beast that Russians had crossed the border to assist Lukashenko. “Russian advisors are already on the ground in Belarus; I don’t think Russian special services are there yet but they are trained, of course, to control the situation,” he said.  Markov, who is a member of the Russia-Belarus Union’s public chamber, said the Belarusian leader was acting within his rights. “Lukashenko is going to arrest and investigate all organizers of the state coup; most of them will end up abroad in Lithuania or Poland,” he said. Life has changed very fast for Kolesnikova. A year ago, she lived in Germany, where she played flute and organized cultural events. She only entered politics a few months ago when the KGB arrested her close friend, Viktor Babariko, Lukashenko’s most serious opponent and a presidential candidate. She is now a revolutionary leader fighting to topple the dictator in her own right.After the disputed election, Belarusians refused to accept another election rigged in Lukashenko’s favor. Women in white dresses stood in chains in Minsk’s squares in solidarity, actors and journalists quit working for the state, thousands of workers went on strike with red-and-white flags, the symbol of independence. Kolesnikova invited both Russian and Belarusian authorities for a dialogue. She proposed re-running the election and other members of the Coordinating Council called for peaceful reforms and changes, it was hardly an armed power-grab. “This is false to say that all of us, 600 members of the Coordinating Council were going to do something,” said one of the leaders Svetlana Alexievich, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015. “A Belarusian nation is being born right in front of our eyes.”Nicolai Khalezin, the director of the Belarusian Free Theater, has known Kolesnikova for many years. He told The Daily Beast he was upset that she had been out walking in the street without protection. He fears the worst. “Lukashenko is obviously going after every leading member of the Coordinating Council,” he said. “So I would not be surprised if Kolesnikova is in the KGB prison on Gorodskoi Val and that Lukashenko has ordered her to be investigated on charges of staging a coup.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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Unity March: Minskers running in rainon September 7, 2020 3:08 PM at 3:08 PM

For the people who have been taking part in post-election protests, the beginning of September 6th looked just like those of three prior Sundays. Several metro stations were closed, so people were gathering around the Palace of Sports in the vicinity of Nyamiha street. Happy and smiling families were marching with the white-red-white flags, holding the balloons and their messages to the government.

“I come here every week as I am looking for emotional support. Every time I see that there are as many people as it used to be and I take it as reality check. We are still 97% and I would like to thank all the activists who came to our factory to show their solidarity. I also thank the lady who held a banner saying that the workers are the heroes during yesterday’s Female March. We are all heroes in here. You can lose a job, but never the freedom,” Pavel, a striking worker from Minsk Tractor Plant, said.

The rainy weather, however, forced people to return. After a few hours of standing, they started walking chaotically, heading back to the main avenue and passing Nyamiha on their way.

Nyamiha street, Unity March in Minsk. 6 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

Alena, 47, was posing with a huge poster “Ha ha, I am living here”:

“I asked a random guy to give me this banner. I plan to use it from now on. It is my second time today, but I was at the very first get together around Minsk Hero City Stele. At that time I only had a ribbon at my hand, but I am advancing now. I will keep on coming until the regime changes”.

While talking to Alena, we were stopped by a mini bus full of plainclothes men wearing black balaclavas. They were chasing us, and we had to run in the rain at full speed. When finding herself bin the clear, Alena added that ‘she had fulfilled her fitness norms for today’, but that episode would not discourage her”. Alena’s only concern is to bring the banner back home safely. She took a taxi for this purpose.

Liza, 26, met me at the entrance of the bar surrounding the tourist walk-in street Komsomolskaya that I took in order to pass through the blockades made of multiple military and riot police cars: “Hurry up! We plan to lock the doors soon. It is very dangerous in here!”. As I walked in the pub, I saw many protesters totally confused without the internet access. They asked me if I had seen the riot police heading to our location, but in a moment their column was passing by the entrance to block yet another street.

While in a lockdown Liza shared a personal experience: “After the first protest I have lost my husband for 5 days. We were calling everywhere, but he wasn’t listed in any of the detention centres. Then we were told he was transferred from Minsk to Slutsk. He came out without teeth and with damaged ligaments, but I was glad that he is alive and coming back home”.

I started talking to others and they shared multiple emotions; a man from Moscow thought that that was the end of dictatorship in Belarus; a tourist from France was confused whether he could meet his Belarusian girlfriend anywhere around at this time, a waitress from a neighbouring cafe who was nervously smoking outside warned us that there was little we could do to help our heroes at the other side.

Police blocked the intersection of Independence Avenue and Lenin Street. Unity March in Minsk. 6 September 2020. Photo: Pavel Dabravolski / vot-tak.tv / belsat.eu

Mikalai, 37, appeared nearby after a long run: “They are detaining everyone near Nyamiha, but I’ve heard them shouting “Till Sunday!”. He found out that the Internet reappeared and we checked the updates from the Nexta Live Telegram channel. The first update was that the protesters had jumped into the Svisloch river to escape. “Holy s**t!” said Mikalai. We spent some time together and he shared that his friend had panic attacks after being detained:

“They beat him up so much that he is afraid to get out of the house to do shopping. I do see people leaving the protest at the street and using more of partisan strategy. I think we need a national strike to end up with this.”

Many detention buses were passing by us on the way back home, yet we saw more than ten military cars surrounding the Palace of Republic. Each of them contained up to 64 soldiers. Some activists were protesting from inside of a local restaurant and their chants were so loud that one could hear them from miles away. We took some yards and parks not to appear in the sight of the riot police.

‘Sasha, we are not rats, we are people! We have not scattered!’ Unity March in Minsk. 6 September 2020. Photo: belsat.eu

A senior man was passing by us near the building of the national TV. “The way is clean,” he said, suspecting that we were in escape. It looked like a partisan war and we stopped at another pub near Victory Square. We were only relieved by the scene of the military cars leaving. As they circled around the Victory monument, the people at the street showed middle fingers and shouted: “Go away, occupants!”

The atmosphere in the public transport on the way back home is such that people were watching protest videos without the headphones and discussing them in the tram. “Tomorrow we are coming back!” someone said.

Bella Fox, belsat.eu

For the people who have been taking part in post-election protests, the beginning of September 6th looked just like those of three prior Sundays.

Belarusian women: “We are the power here!”on September 7, 2020 1:23 PM at 1:23 PM

Every Saturday the streets of Minsk are filled with Belarusian women of all ages and professions. Together they belong to a large peace-making community that is coordinated through the social networks. It is common to get together with the flowers and posters to march through the key points of the downtown raising the awareness on the situation in the country. Let’s flash back to the events of September, 5.

“I am 37 and I have seen many things before; none of what I’ve been through is comparable to the liberation I am experiencing now. I fight for the future of my children, of my own and for all the young women that attend this protest. Sometimes I feel like I should guard them, when I see riot buses approaching. It is often a matter of smiling or shouting the right slogan and I see that the fear in their eyes is turning into courage. These are the moments worth living,” Natallya, a mother of three children, says.

The police follow the ladies all the way and keep megaphoning that their event is illegal. The women laugh and try to add the volume to their new favourite chants: “None is gonna sleep with you!”, “We don’t need any escort!”, “Get undressed!”, “Show your face!”. This self-organised crowd usually splits at the traffic lights, but it is inseparable: the women signal to each other “Wait for us!” and make a full stop to reunite with the rest of the column. When the streets are not blocked by the road police, cars honk to show their solidarity. It is now a recognisable melody made of “Long live Belarus” rhythm.

Women’s protest in Independence Square. Minsk. 5 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

Hanna has a poster quoting the national law:

“I am a 20-year-old student of Minsk State Linguistic University and I am fed up with what they are doing to the students and other guys. I show my poster to all cars, although my target is the police. My aim is to remind of our rights and I want all of our political prisoners to be released. This is a police state and they broke the law. There must be the right of peaceful assembly. I believe that they won’t detain the column of women. Actually, it is too many of us here and I think we should march along the carriageway since it’s closed. It is closed for us and we are the power in here!”

Some women come for the first time; they engage in conversation with the newly-met comrades. The playlist of revolution 2020 consists of widely known NRM songs and composition Break The Prison Walls performed by Syarhei Tsikhanouski. Syarhei’s wife Svyatlana is an inspiring figure due to her running for presidency in the 2020 election and standing up for her husband. The female marchers support all the male detainees in the country, including Viktar Kuushynau, a top manager at IT company PandaDoc. Girls hold panda toys in their hands or wear panda costumes.

Women’s protest in Independence Square. Minsk. 5 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

“I believed in the idea of retraining the riot police and those in need. The IT sector was one of the most profitable in Belarus. What is going on today is a political disaster to all of us. Who is going to pay the taxes? I find my pijama super comfortable, it is quite a fitness to walk all day long and I am happy to be a panda for once,” 26-year-old Kseniya said.

After the march all the ladies enjoy the sun in Independence Square. This is a new selfie spot in the city and it was possible to reach out to the House of Government and the monument to Vladimir Lenin. But not now: the riot police push the women back. Many girls respond with the depicted scenes of violence against the protesters after the election. Here the group behaves differently: some ladies try using direct eye contact and shouting “Go away” and “How much is your conscience?” to the riot police, others keep a little distance for their safety and dance in circles or sing the Belarusian folk song Kupalinka.

Women’s protest in Independence Square. Minsk. 5 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

Alena, 29, holds a white-red-white flag and takes a selfie with the riot police in the background:

“I am afraid, yes. But I used to live abroad and I want to show what is going on to my foreign friends. They will be astonished by the fact I am guarded by special forces right in the city centre. This is too much!”.

For many protesters there is an additional concern: the building of the Red Church behind them is also in the focus of the government. The women gather at the church’s stairs facing the riot police in black or green suits and balaclavas. Their anger at being surrounded by the men without any insignia surpasses their fear, and the ladies mockingly join the guard lines too. Shutouts continue till the beginning of the church service; then some ladies head to the church to pray for Belarus. Welcoming the parishioners, Bishop Yury Kasabutski pays attention to the police’s demands that turn to be a small obstacle to the service. Then he claims that the Belarusian women make a divine contribution to the peaceful resolution of the political crisis in the country. The service is attended by the group of diplomats and is missed by Roman Catholic Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, a Belarusian citizen, who has been recently banned from entering the country.

“I am not a Catholic, but I came to leave my signature for Kondrusiewicz’s return. I am shocked at the government’s intention to grab the Red Church from the Roman Catholic group and its attacks on them. I remember the riot police’s blocking the entrance to the church; even though I am used to protest in another district of Minsk, I made a decision to come here this time. I am already retired and I have many duties related to my health, but for once I felt like I should be here. And I agree with what Kasabutski said: the women of Belarus is a kind of blessing to this country, and I know that the ones who stand for the love, for the truth are protected by God. We will win,” Katsyaryna said.

Minsk office of the PandaDoc IT-company searched

Bella Fox, belsat.eu

Every Saturday the streets of Minsk are filled with Belarusian women of all ages and professions. Together they belong to a large peace-making community that is coordinated through the social networks. It is common to get together with the flowers and posters to march through the key points of the downtown raising the awareness on the situation in the country. Let’s flash back to the events of September, 5.

Belarusian Opposition Activist Says Kolesnikova Kidnapped From Outside Post Officeon September 7, 2020 1:11 PM at 1:11 PM

MINSK (Sputnik) – Maria Kolesnikova, a high-ranking member of the Belarusian opposition’s Coordination Council, vanished during a trip to a post office in Minsk after she was sent a copy of a police notice on an administrative offence she committed by attending an unauthorised rally in August, a fellow council member said Monday.MINSK (Sputnik) – Maria Kolesnikova, a high-ranking member of the Belarusian opposition’s Coordination Council, vanished during a trip to a post office in Minsk after she was sent a copy of a police notice on an administrative offence she committed by attending an unauthorised rally in August, a fellow council member said Monday.

Belarus Protest Leader Vanishes Amid Reports of Masked Abductorson September 7, 2020 11:51 AM at 11:51 AM

With large-scale demonstrations showing little sign of winding down, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s security forces appear to have shifted from mass repression to more targeted disappearances.With large-scale demonstrations showing little sign of winding down, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko’s security forces appear to have shifted from mass repression to more targeted disappearances.

Belarus opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova is bundled into a minibus by masked menon September 7, 2020 8:03 AM at 8:03 AM

Kolesnikova, 38, is the only member of the female triumvirate fighting against President Alexander Lukashenko’s dubious August 9 re-election to have remained in the country.This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

The post Belarus opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova is bundled into a minibus by masked men appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

Kolesnikova, 38, is the only member of the female triumvirate fighting against President Alexander Lukashenko’s dubious August 9 re-election to have remained in the country.This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk
The post Belarus opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova is bundled into a minibus by masked men appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

Belarus protest leader ‘abducted’ after mass anti-gov’t marchon September 7, 2020 8:00 AM at 8:00 AM

Check NewsDesk for more information

Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova has been abducted by unidentified people in central Minsk, according to the Belarusian Tut.By media outlet, citing a witness.

Masked men detained her and and drove her off in a minivan, said Tut.By.

The development on Monday came hours after security forces arrested 633 protesters following a mass anti-government rally on Sunday, the latest since the disputed August election.

Police in Minsk said they had not arrested Kolesnikova, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Kolesnikova is the last one left in Belarus of three female politicians who joined forces before the August 9 presidential election to try to challenge longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko.

A vocal critic of Lukashenko, she has played an important role in the country’s post-election political crisis which has seen weeks of mass protests and strikes by people who accuse the strongman of rigging his own re-election, something he denies.

Before the vote, Kolesnikova teamed up with opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who later fled to Lithuania, and with Veronika Tsepkalo, who has also since left the country.

Another leading activist, Olga Kovalkova, arrived in Poland on Saturday, saying she had been told she would face arrest if she stayed in Belarus.

Tsepkalo told Al Jazeera from Poland that her allies in Belarus still did not have any information on Kolesnikova’s whereabouts.

“Hopefully she will be released as soon as possible. I really worry about her,” she said.

Tsepkalo also said it was “not safe right now for the leaders and as you can see all the leaders are put in prison, detained or had to leave the country”. 

“Lukashenko isolates the strongest leaders. During this presidential season, he has put two opposition leaders in prison. My husband is facing up to 15 years behind bars on criminal charges,” she said.

Tsikhanouskaya said the reported abduction of Kolesnikova looked like an attempt by authorities to derail the opposition’s Coordination Council and intimidate its members.

The economy

Earlier on Monday, central bank figures showed Belarus had burned through nearly one-sixth of its gold and foreign exchange reserves, or $ 1.4bn, in August, as it fought to prop up its rouble currency during the wave of unrest.

Kolesnikova had announced on August 31 that she was forming a new political party, Together, with the team of jailed opposition figure Viktor Babaryko with whom she had previously worked.

On Sunday, columns of protesters defied a government warning not to march, waving red-and-white opposition flags and shouting “go away” and “you’re a rat”.

Protests also took place in major cities throughout Belarus.

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and, buoyed by a show of support from traditional ally Russia, has rejected calls for new elections.

Unprecedented protests broke out when he claimed he had been re-elected with 80 percent of the vote.

Daragh McDowell, principal analyst at the global consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft, said economic factors are playing a significant role in the demonstrations, with the country “rapidly running out of money”. 

“The IT sector has been repeatedly undermined with the internet shutdowns to disrupt the protesters. We’ve also seen a lot of strikes in the state-owned sector as well. So the Belarussian economy is really on the brink,” McDowell told Al Jazeera.

“The people have lost their fear of Lukashenko, he’s lost a lot of his authority. No matter how many riot police he’s deployed to the streets, it just hasn’t stopped people from continuing to come out.”

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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, Al Jazeera English reports

The post Belarus protest leader ‘abducted’ after mass anti-gov’t march appeared first on NewsDesk.

Check NewsDesk for more information

Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova has been abducted by unidentified people in central Minsk, according to the Belarusian Tut.By media outlet, citing a witness. Masked men detained her and and drove her off in a minivan, said Tut.By. The development on Monday came hours after security forces arrested 633 protesters following a mass anti-government rally on
The post Belarus protest leader ‘abducted’ after mass anti-gov’t march appeared first on NewsDesk.

Belarus activist goes missing, colleagues fear detentionon September 7, 2020 7:42 AM at 7:42 AM

Belarus activist goes missing, colleagues fear detentionA leading opposition activist and several other members of an opposition council in Belarus went missing Monday and their colleagues feared they were detained as part of the authorities’ efforts to squelch nearly a month of protests against the re-election of the country’s authoritarian leader. Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Coordination Council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with President Alexander Lukashenko on a transition of power, was reportedly put on a minibus in the capital, Minsk, and driven away by unidentified people.

A leading opposition activist and several other members of an opposition council in Belarus went missing Monday and their colleagues feared they were detained as part of the authorities’ efforts to squelch nearly a month of protests against the re-election of the country’s authoritarian leader. Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Coordination Council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with President Alexander Lukashenko on a transition of power, was reportedly put on a minibus in the capital, Minsk, and driven away by unidentified people.

Belarus opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova ‘snatched from street’ in Minskon September 7, 2020 7:37 AM at 7:37 AM

Kolesnikova on council calling for a peaceful transfer of power amid post-election protests

Unidentified masked men snatched the leading Belarusian opposition figure, Maria Kolesnikova, from the street in the centre of the capital, Minsk, on Monday and drove her away in a minivan, witnesses told local media.

Kolesnikova was one of the campaign partners of the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claimed victory against the long-ruling president, Alexander Lukashenko, in disputed elections on 9 August.

Continue reading…
Kolesnikova on council calling for a peaceful transfer of power amid post-election protests
Unidentified masked men snatched the leading Belarusian opposition figure, Maria Kolesnikova, from the street in the centre of the capital, Minsk, on Monday and drove her away in a minivan, witnesses told local media.
Kolesnikova was one of the campaign partners of the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claimed victory against the long-ruling president, Alexander Lukashenko, in disputed elections on 9 August. Continue reading…

Belarus opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova detained by masked menon September 7, 2020 6:45 AM at 6:45 AM

Maria Kolesnikova, a prominent opponent of President Alexander Lukashenko, has allegedly been seized by masked men in Minsk and taken away in a van. Her allies slammed the regime for using "methods of terror."Maria Kolesnikova, a prominent opponent of President Alexander Lukashenko, has allegedly been seized by masked men in Minsk and taken away in a van. Her allies slammed the regime for using "methods of terror."

Belarus: Opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova detained by masked menon September 7, 2020 6:45 AM at 6:45 AM

A prominent opponent of President Alexander Lukashenko has allegedly been seized from the streets of Minsk by masked men in black and taken away in a van. Belarus has been rocked by protests since August 9.A prominent opponent of President Alexander Lukashenko has allegedly been seized from the streets of Minsk by masked men in black and taken away in a van. Belarus has been rocked by protests since August 9.

Minsk: Unknown persons take away opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikavaon September 7, 2020 6:16 AM at 6:16 AM

Мaryia Kalesnikava at New Belarus March in Minsk. 23 August 2020. Photo: Iryna Arakhouskaya / belsat.eu / vot-tak.tv

On Monday morning, Tsikhanouskaya’s associate and Coordination Council (СС) member Maryia Kalesnikava was reportedly detained near the National Art Museum.

Unidentified people put her in a minibus and drove away in an unknown direction.

“Not far from the museum, I saw a parked dark Sobol minibus with the inscription ‘Communication’ on the wing. I walked on and heard the sounds of a phone falling on the pavement and sort of tramping, turned around and saw masked plainclothed peopls pushing Maryia into the minibus and her phone flying off, one of those people picked up the phone, jumped into the minibus, and they left,” Anastasiya, a witness to the situation, told TUT.BY.

The girl did not dare to film what was happening in fear of being arrested.

Kalesnikava’s phone is available, but she is not answering it. At 10.13 (local time), CС spokesman Anton Radnyankou said that Maryia was alone in the city centre. Learned about the disappearance from TUT.BY, he was about to ascertain her whereabouuts. At about 11, he was out of reach on the phone.

“Instead of talking to the people of Belarus, the outgoing leadership is trying cynically eliminate one by one. The kidnapping of Maryia Kalesnikava in downtown of Minsk is a disgrace. Stalinist NKVD methods are being applied in 21st century’s Europe. She must be released immediately,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said on Twitter.

The press service of the Interior Ministry has not commented on the alleged abduction yet.

Opposition questions Lukashenka’s son access to assault rifle

On August 31, the election team of the imprisoned might-have-been presidential candidate Viktar Babaryka, including Kalesnikava, posted a video in which they voiced the intention to set up a political party titled Vmeste (Together).

As reported earlier, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s strongest rival Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the CC as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. At the moment, the Council comprises 600 members. Last week, Belarus’ Prosecutor General initiated criminal proceedings over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. The authorities believe the body aims at seizing power in Belarus. Several board members, including Belarusian Nobel Prize holder Svetlana Alexievich, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office for questioning.

Since early September, many members of the Coordination Council have been facing trouble: international mediator Liliya Ulasava was arrested by the Financial Investigations Department; strike movement activist Syarhei Dyleuski has been in custody for over two weeks; politician Volha Kavalkova was forced out of the country; political analyst Andrey Yahorau was detained during Sunday’s Unity March in Minsk.

Opposition Coordination Council insists on dialogue, blames Lukashenka for rattling sabres

belsat.eu

On Monday morning, Tsikhanouskaya’s associate and Coordination Council member Maryia Kalesnikava was reportedly detained near the National Art Museum.