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Belarusian police disperse protest rally in Minsk, confirm multiple detentions
Belarus Protest
Image: Unsplash

Belarusian police disperse protest rally in Minsk, confirm multiple detentions

| @indiablooms | 20 Dec 2020, 07:17 pm

Minsk/Sputnik: Security forces have dispersed anti-government demonstrations in the Belarusian capital on Sunday, with the Minsk police confirming to Sputnik multiple detentions.

Marches on weekends have become a signature feature of the post-electoral protests in Belarus. Sunday rallies are traditionally the largest, held in Minsk and other cities and normally resulting in multiple arrests. Details on time and place are normally being communicated to people via opposition-backed Telegram channels.

As reported by a Sputnik correspondent from Minsk, a large rally began in the Grushevka outskirt around noon local time (09:00 GMT). People carried signature red-and-white-colored tokens and yelled anti-government slogans.

The rally moved predominantly locally from yard to yard.

Police arrived at the site in several buses shortly into the start, prompting the protesters to run and hide in nearby yards. Several people were detained.

Several more demonstrations were held in other residential districts of Minsk.
Eyewitnesses said detentions had been carried out at those demonstrations, as well.
Natallya Hanusevich, a spokeswoman for the police department of the Minsk City Executive Committee, has confirmed the fact of detentions to Sputnik.

"I can confirm that there were detentions during the unauthorized mass events in Minsk today," Hanusevich said, not specifying numbers.

The police official urged citizens to "not succumb to provocations disseminated via various social networks and messengers with calls to participate in unauthorized events" and stressed that countering public disorder is "a responsibility, not a right" of law enforcement officers.

According to Minsk-based human rights center Viasna, which tracks the confirmed detentions weekly in a spreadsheet on its website, 18 people were detained this Sunday so far, most of them in Minsk.

Mass protests began in Belarus after the presidential election on August 9, which, according to the official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, securing himself a sixth consecutive term in office. The opposition refused to recognize the results, claiming electoral fraud.

Over the past few weeks, the format of opposition protests in Minsk has changed — instead of calling one massive rally across the city center, protesters gather for smaller demonstrations scattered across the city's residential areas. Police and security forces with special equipment are normally being deployed to these spots in the morning of the protest day.  

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