Thousands are demonstrating again in the Belarusian capital Minsk. Opposition leader Tichanovskaya threatens Lukashenko with a general strike.
KIEV taz | This weekend, too, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Belarusian cities. They called for the resignation of President Lukashenko, the release of all political prisoners and an investigation into officials who mistreated prisoners and demonstrators. The demonstration route of the march in the capital Minsk only became known on Sunday morning.
At around 2 p.m., people streamed from all parts of the capital, mostly with white, red and white flags in their hands or around their shoulders, to the partisan prospectus in the industrial district. Shortly after 2 p.m. “the partisan march”, as the demonstration was called this Sunday, began there. A call for a demonstration reminds of the Belarusian tradition as partisans. Again and again the demonstrators shouted “strike” in chants.
Activist Alexandra Kondratiewa is not very happy about the route. “In the industrial district there are fewer ways to escape if you want to escape a water cannon or a police officer,” she says. In addition, there are no high-rise buildings in parts. And especially from the balconies of the high-rise buildings, the residents of the city center had photographed the police violence during the previous demonstrations and immediately spread it over the Internet.
Although the demonstration took place on the outskirts of the city, the police blocked six underground stations in the center and hermetically sealed off prominent points, squares and intersections in the city center with barbed wire, the activist said on the phone. “Again we were over 100,000 in Minsk,” she sums up. The Russian writes against it gazeta.ruthat there were 15,000 people, the Belarusian portals charter97.org and tut.by speak of “a few tens of thousands”.
Violence against demonstrating pensioners
Shortly after 3 p.m., police units blocked the demonstration’s path on the partisan prospect. At the same time, men in black masks were targeting demonstrators. tut.by reports of the brutal arrests of individual demonstrators by the police. Flash grenades, too, reported Belsat, were used.
The people in Minsk had already demonstrated during the week. According to the Vyasna human rights center, 29 people were arrested at two demonstrations by women and students on Saturday. Among those arrested were three journalists who are now also in the notorious Okrestina prison. On Monday the police violently broke up a demonstration by pensioners, the following day the physically handicapped demonstrated in their wheelchairs.
On Saturday, supporters of Alexander Lukashenko demonstrated their support for the president in a parade of a good hundred vehicles from Minsk to Vitebsk. The participants in this rally did not have to fear arrest.
A good 100 people demonstrated against Lukashenko in Brest, and the center in Gomel was so hermetically sealed that a rally planned there was not possible. Ten people reported tut.by, were arrested in Gomel. In Grodno a good hundred people attended the “partisan march”.
Tichanovskaya issues an ultimatum
Opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya Alexander Lukashenko issued an ultimatum on Tuesday. Unless the latter resigns by October 25, the violence on the streets stops and all political prisoners are released, a nationwide general strike will begin on October 26. At the same time, Tichanovskaya once again emphasized that the protest in her country would remain non-violent.
On the same day, Tichanowskaya rejected all efforts by Alexander Lukashenko to involve the opposition in a dialogue on constitutional reform. For Lukashenko, the constitutional reform is a propaganda instrument with which he wants to simulate a dialogue.
“But as long as there is shooting in the streets and people are in prison, there is no dialogue,” the Belarusian portal quotes Naviny.by the opposition politician. On the same day, the Belarusian Interior Ministry announced that the police would also use deadly weapons if necessary.
On Thursday, Tichanowskaja’s colleague Valerij Zepkalo, whose presidential candidacy the Central Electoral Commission had not approved in July, made it clear on Twitter that he had doubts about the success of a nonviolent resistance. “Show these guys from the OMON special police that you are men too and that you can also pick up a baton. And it can fall on the head of a bastard who hits our pensioners, our mothers and fathers. “