More than 100,00 people marched down the roads of Minsk, Belarus to stand up against the President, Alexander Lukashenko, on Sunday.
The protestors were in huge numbers, carrying the white and red flags of the pre-soviet Belarus republic, which have now become a symbol of the protests happening. The demonstrators were filled with rage, shouting slogans like ‘resign”, “we are the power here” and “shame”.
Belarus police detained a number of protesters as they gathered in huge numbers , demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova.
All this time, Maria came out as a key opposition figure after the rest were jailed earlier or forced out of the country. It included Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who challenged the president in the elections on behalf of her better-known husband who was detained well before elections.
Maria was also forced to leave the country when a couple of masked men snacthed her off the streets and tried to drive her to the Ukrainian borders. According to the two allies who were there, Maria tried to stop them from trying to send her away by tearing her passport apart and throwing it out of the window. After which, she was detained in Minsk and now faces a long term prison time over accusations of trying to gain power illegally.
WHEN DID IT ALL START ?
All these protests and hate rallies began on august 9th when Lukashenko was handed over his sixth term in office with 80 percent support. The opponents and some poll workers claimed that the election results were rigged.
Thousands of protestors gathered around in the central Minsk, chanting “go away”. One of the slogans also read “Sveta is my president, Masha is my queen”. Police started detaining the protesters at noon and at least 40 of them were put into police vans in the first hour alone.This all turned out to be violent and many also showed their bruises from a violent police crackdown after election days. After which, over 7000 protestors were detained.
Lukashenko was supposed to meet the Russian President, Vladimir Putin this morning. It was to be their first in person meet since the unrest began. Putin made very clear that he stands ready to send the Russian police in Belarus if the protests turn out to be extremely violent. Further, stoking fears that Moscow might move to annex its neighbors.
The countries are tied in a union agreement beholding close political, economic and military ties, although Lukashenko has been frequently expressing his concerns that Russia wants to absorb all of Belarus.