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International Observatory of Human Rights, Belarus one month after the election: “It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again”, on September 9, 2020 6:15 AM at 6:15 AM

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One month has passed since the election in Belarus on 9 August, which was followed by mass protests and unprecedented levels of repression and intimidation of Belarusian citizens. As protests continue, Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power in Belarus for 26 years, seems to stop at nothing to hold on to power. 

The regime’s pressure on political activists and bloggers started long before the electoral campaign launch: At least 1340 persons were arbitrarily detained and fined between 6 May and 4 August, Viktor Babariko and Sergei Tikhanovsky – the two main political opponents of “The Cockroach” (Alexander Lukashenko’s popular nickname) – were imprisoned, and Valery Tsepkalo, a third powerful contender, were forced to flee from the country. 

The election itself was held without international observers and with a huge number of documented cases of election fraud, which is why a great number of voters were filled with indignation by Lukashenko’s “landslide” victory (80% of the votes) and have taken to the streets to protest, despite the brutal crackdown by riot police and other security units.

In a review of the Human Rights Situation in Belarus for August 2020, the Belarusian Human Rights Center “Viasna” stated that there is an ongoing 

“deep human rights crisis in the country, which affects almost every aspect of civil and political rights”.

Tough figures 

The ongoing Belarusian protests have been largely peaceful: not a single shop window has been broken (except one broken by security force officers who were chasing protesters on 6 September) and not a single car burned. Despite the election fraud, most protesters seem to do their best to avoid provocations, comply with the law and even make efforts to remove the rubbish after the rallies. 

Nevertheless, the monthly outcome is more than sad: thousands of people have been brutally detained and abducted; hundreds have been heavily injured and tortured; 47 are considered political prisoners and at least nine, reported missing or killed.

According to the NGO “Viasna”, since 9 August, more than 8000 protesters, including journalists, minors and bystanders, have been detained across the country. Belarusian detentions would not be so frightening unless numerous proofs of further heavy beating and humiliations in police vans and detention centres. 

Experts from the UN have stated that at least 450 persons were ill-treated in a systematic way during and after detention, including sexual abuse and rape cases. More than 200 people were admitted to hospitals with heavy injuries, including a 5-year-old girl in Grodno

At least 6 individuals are still reported missing and at least 3 persons have died as a result of police action (Alexander Taraikousky in Minsk and Gennady Shutov in Brest) or inaction (bypasser Alexander Vikhor from Homieĺ).

There is no separation of powers in Belarus, which is why the Belarusian prosecutors avoid initiating criminal proceedings against security force staff. Despite hundreds of criminal complaints with evidence of bodily injuries, no criminal cases have been opened against the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Defense officers. 

Meanwhile, more than 80 criminal cases have been initiated against peaceful protesters in charge of “mass riots”. 

They include those of political prisoners whose number increased from 24 (as of 9 August) to 47 (as of 8 September).

A society targeted

The evidence of political pressure from Lukashenko’s regime is traceable in all aspects of Belarusian society. Members of the Belarus Coordination Council, the newly formed opposition group, and independent media have been targeted by the security forces but below you will find some examples from health professionals, the Catholic church, educators and university students, public sector and industry workers, that might not have not made it to the headlines.

Medical staff victims

On 11 Aug, the emergency medical assistant Daniil was brutally assulted and detained when trying to give first aid to a protester in need. In a detention centre, he was marked with yellow paint, shot on video and beaten with batons for “treating those who come back and carry on fighting”.

The clinic urologist Alexey Belastotski was hospitalised after having been detained at Minsk detention centre, suffering heavy traumas due to beatings in a police van and in the police office. Alexey was detained on 2 September, shortly after offering medical help to protesters in need. On 17 August, he publicly criticised police staff for brutality toward hospitalised protesters. 

The anaesthetist Ihar Tabolich was given a 2-day arrest and 25-penalty-unit fine only for having accompanied his fiancee who participated in a women solidarity chain in Minsk on 29 August.

The Catholic Church scandals

On the evening of 26 August, while dispersing protesters, riot police officers blocked the entrance and exit of the Catholic Red Church in Minsk and on 31 August, Tadevuš Kandrusievič, Chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus, was refused entry from Poland to Belarus by border authorities without any reasons.

Students and educators vs. black balaclavas and administrative pressure

On 1 September, the first day back in schools in Belarus, students at some universities, including the major ones, started to organise and participate in mass protests and demonstrations that police block and disperse. 

On 4 September, five students from Minsk State Linguistic University (MSLU) were brutally detained by plain-clothed men in balaclavas at the university hall just for singing ‘Do You Hear the People Sing?’ from the musical Les Misérables together. 

The head of MSLU banned unauthorised student actions within the university, while the head of Vitebsk State Vet Academy threatened to expel students who had been detained. This threat was carried out against at least one student, Ekaterina Lubetskaya.

Alena Buglayeva, a school principal, was the head of a local polling station in Brest, where Svetlana Tikhanovskaya won by a landslide. As a result, Ms Buglayeva was forced to leave the school together with two colleagues. On 5 September, more than 100 parents rallied near the school in support for her return yet the local administrator declared that she had left without coercion. 

Public sector employees

Some public employees have been forced to participate in pro-Lukashenko rallies. Otherwise, they are threatened to lose their work accommodation, pay, and bonuses or to be fined.

Protesting workers of Belaruskali, one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of potash fertilisers in the world, have been forced to submit written explanations to the management. On 31 August, Anatoli Bakun, the head of the Belaruskali strike committee, was detained. Earlier on, Lukashenko threatened Belaruskali strikers to replace them with labour from Ukraine.

On 6 September, several lifeguards helped some protesters who had jumped into the Svislach river to escape from riot police. The same day, the lifeguards were detained.

What’s next for Belarus?

Since the detention on 6 September of Maria Kalesnikova, the last member of the anti-Lukashenko opposition trio (‘Tikhanovskaya-Tsepkalo-Kalesnikova’) who had remained in Belarus, the protests in Belarus are becoming more decentralised. Yet everyday people continue to take to the streets demanding Lukashenko’s resignation, new fair and free election, the release of all political prisoners and the punishment for crimes against humanity in the country. And everyday there are new and more brutal detentions of protesters. 

Facing the outrage from special force units and the judicial administration, Belarusians increasingly feel they cannot rely on the state and have become much more willing to follow the strategic “Plan to Win” that was posted on the main protest Telegram channels on 28 August.

This is why protests are very likely to carry on – not only on the streets – but also economically, through delayed tax, utility bills and other payments and the boycott of pro-government businesses; technologically, through so-called hacker wars against government bodies and security officers; politically by recalling pro-Lukashenko deputies, ignoring official public events; legally by documenting rights violations and crimes against humanity and identifying the special police officers committing the crimes and, finally, internationally by promoting the broadcasting of news from Belarus and lobbying international bodies to introduce sanctions on Lukashenko and his regime.

The post Belarus one month after the election: “It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again” appeared first on International Observatory of Human Rights.

, One month has passed since the election in Belarus on 9 August, which was followed by mass protests and unprecedented levels of repression and intimidation of Belarusian citizens. As protests continue, Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power in Belarus for 26 years, seems to stop at nothing to hold on to power.  The regime’s…
The post Belarus one month after the election: “It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again” appeared first on International Observatory of Human Rights.

World news | The Guardian, Belarus opposition figure Maxim Znak taken from office by masked men, on September 9, 2020 5:38 AM at 5:38 AM

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Lawyer was one of few remaining leading members of coordination council still free

Belarusian authorities have detained one of the last leading members of an opposition council who had remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.

Maxim Znak, a lawyer and member of the coordination council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with the country’s leader on a transition of power, was taken out of the council’s office by unidentified people in ski masks, his associate Gleb German said. He said Znak only had time to text message “masks” before they took the phone away from him.

Continue reading…
, Lawyer was one of few remaining leading members of coordination council still free
Belarusian authorities have detained one of the last leading members of an opposition council who had remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko.
Maxim Znak, a lawyer and member of the coordination council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with the country’s leader on a transition of power, was taken out of the council’s office by unidentified people in ski masks, his associate Gleb German said. He said Znak only had time to text message “masks” before they took the phone away from him. Continue reading…

CNN.com – RSS Channel – World, How stay-at-home mom became opposition leader in Belarus, on September 9, 2020 5:13 AM at 5:13 AM

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CNN’s Christiane Amanpour speaks to Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya about why she decided to step in for her husband and run for president. Belarus continues to be roiled by protests over the election of President Alexander Lukashenko, which many citizens believe to be rigged.


, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour speaks to Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya about why she decided to step in for her husband and run for president. Belarus continues to be roiled by protests over the election of President Alexander Lukashenko, which many citizens believe to be rigged.

News – belsat.eu, Belarusians, Poles welcoming Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya in Warsaw (video), on September 9, 2020 4:27 AM at 4:27 AM

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Event starting at 01:07:00

On September 9, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with politicians, reporters and representatives of Belarusian diaspora in the Warsaw-based Belarusian House. Belsat TV was livestreaming the event (BEL/PL/RU).

Many people who were willing to take part in the meeting were standing in a queue to the Belarusian House in Warsaw. However, mainly public figures and journalists were present at the meeting, as the hall is too small to accomodate all those wishing to attend the event.

Маteusz Morawiecki handing over key to new office of Belarusian House. Photo: Belsat.eu

“I really appreciate the cordial welcome that me and other people who had to leave Belarus have received from Poland. Our country is now going through both hard and heartwarming times. On the one hand, the current developments are elating me, because our people, Belarusians, have finally woken up. We feel that we are a united nation – one for all and all for one. The people of Belarus have raised to fight for our rights; for the right to stand, speak, clap our hands, for the right to choose and decide upon the future of our beloved Motherland on our own. Horrible things are now happening in Belarusian streets; it is woefully, but violence has passed all bounds there. Our people will never forgive [the authorities] the events that occurred on August 9-11, when our citizens were taking to the streets to protect their votes. In the opinion of our people, president Lukashenka is not legitimate anymore, the nation is not going to accept him as a head of state, they do not trust him, they are not ready to entrust the country’s future to him,Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya said.

Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Veranika Tsapkala, Warsaw, 9 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

The entire European Union is supporting Belarus in its aspiration for democracy and freedom, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stressed during the meeting. According to him, Poland is an open home for all Belarusians who need help.

“In our programme called ‘In solidarity with Belarus’, we offer aid to the repressed and we are trying to support the Belarusians groups that carry the song of freedom to Belarus, fighting for a free, democratic and sovereign Belarus,” news agency PAP quotes the top official.

PM Morawiecki also expressed gratitude to Belsat TV director Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy for the channel’s years-long countering pro-Lukashenka propaganda.

Polish Prime Minister Маteusz Morawiecki.

In turn, Ales Zarembyuk, Head of the Belarusian House, thanked the minister for the Polish programme; as part of it, Belarusian victims of police abuse are being treated in Poland.

After Mateusz Morawiecki and Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya delivered their speeches, the representatives of mass media were asked to leave as the talks on the Belarusian issues were expected to start.

Veranika Tsapkala, Warsaw, 9 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu
Belarusians waiting for Tsikhanouskaya’s arrival. Warsaw, 9 September 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

belsat.eu

, Belsat TV is livestreaming the event.

www.washingtontimes.com stories: World, Nobel laureate warns arrests won’t stop Belarus protests, on September 9, 2020 4:13 AM at 4:13 AM

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Belarusian authorities on Wednesday detained one of the two last leading members of an opposition council who remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lawyer Maxim Znak, a member of the Coordination Council created by the opposition to …

, KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Belarusian authorities on Wednesday detained one of the two last leading members of an opposition council who remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Lawyer Maxim Znak, a member of the Coordination Council created by the opposition to …

Хартия’97 :: Новости Беларуси – Белорусские новости – Новости Белоруссии – Республика Беларусь – Минск, Polish “Solidarity” Created Fund To Help Protesting Belarusians, on September 9, 2020 3:54 AM at 3:54 AM

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The leader of the independent Polish self-governing union “Solidarity” has visited our country., The leader of the independent Polish self-governing union “Solidarity” has visited our country.

Deutsche Welle, ‘Masked men’ seize another Belarus opposition figure in Minsk, on September 9, 2020 3:01 AM at 3:01 AM

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Maxim Znak, a prominent opposition Belarusian figure, has been taken from his office by masked people in plain clothes. The detention comes days after the attempted forced deportation of Maria Kolesnikova., Maxim Znak, a prominent opposition Belarusian figure, has been taken from his office by masked people in plain clothes. The detention comes days after the attempted forced deportation of Maria Kolesnikova.

Deutsche Welle, Opinion: Belarus opposition needs a plan, on September 9, 2020 2:35 AM at 2:35 AM

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"Get lost, Lukashenko" — that is what it’s come down to after a month of protests in Belarus following the contested election. But the demonstrators don’t know what to do next, Vladimir Dorokhov writes., "Get lost, Lukashenko" — that is what it’s come down to after a month of protests in Belarus following the contested election. But the demonstrators don’t know what to do next, Vladimir Dorokhov writes.

News – belsat.eu, Belarus FX reserves down by $ 1.4 bln in August, on September 9, 2020 12:43 AM at 12:43 AM

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Photo: Iryna Arakhouskaya / Belsat.eu

Gold and foreign exchange reserves of Belarus fell in August by almost $ 1.4 billion, or 15.8%, the report of the National Bank of Belarus states. It was published on September 7 on the official website.

“According to preliminary data, as of September 1, 2020, international reserve assets of the Republic of Belarus amounted to $ 7.5 billion (in equivalent),” the National Bank said in a statement. “In August 2020, gold and foreign exchange reserves decreased by $ 1.399 billion (15.8%) after growing in July by $ 61.8 million (0.7%)”.

“The reason for such a sharp decline is the shock events in the foreign exchange market. The surge of violence from the authorities after the elections undermined the faith of Belarusians in the law and the state. The Belarusian ruble, as a part of statehood, also lost confidence, people went to banks and exchange offices to withdraw rubles and convert them into foreign currency. One of the reactions of the National Bank was to support the ruble through the sale of gold and foreign exchange reserves,” Katsyaryna Barnukova, a leading researcher at BEROC, explained to belsat.eu.

She notes that the prediction made before the elections will not be fulfilled. Belarus will not be able to receive new external financing in the volumes that were planned.

According to Barnukova, now it is difficult to predict even a month in advance.

“First of all, the reserves will depend on the development of the political situation. And then they will only depend on the reaction of people, external creditors, buyers of Belarusian exports to this situation,” the expert says.

The decline in gold and foreign exchange reserves is taking place against the background of growing devaluation expectations in society. Since August 27, it has been impossible to get a loan in Belarusian banks to buy housing in the secondary market.

belsat.eu

, FX reserves down 15.8%

World news | The Guardian, Lukashenko: If Belarus collapses, Russia is next – video, on September 8, 2020 5:51 PM at 5:51 PM

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During an interview with Russian journalists, Alexander Lukashenko said the massive protests in his country have been ‘tragic’ for him but insisted that he has retained the support of most of the country. The Belarusian president blamed the US for instigating the protests and warned Russia that it could face similar demonstrations in the future.

Continue reading…
, During an interview with Russian journalists, Alexander Lukashenko said the massive protests in his country have been ‘tragic’ for him but insisted that he has retained the support of most of the country. The Belarusian president blamed the US for instigating the protests and warned Russia that it could face similar demonstrations in the future.

Belarus: Lukashenko vows to stay in first interview since protests

Continue reading…

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’
Continue reading…

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. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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.