For the first time in Belarus!
After 26 years in office, this year president Lukashenko was weakened by poor management of Covid-19, a declining economy as well as by two opposing candidates coming, not from classical pro democratic opposition as before, but from within the system. A well-known banker, a former ambassador and a populist video blogger entered the race criticising the president.
While the candidates were collecting signatures and people were lining up to support their candidacy, the regime resorted to preventive repression. The blogger was arrested for altercation with police on one of his rallies, the banker, his son and several associated were arrested for tax evasion and the former ambassador got his candidacy rejected due to “fraudulent” signatures. He soon fled the country with his children.
Not the first time in Belarus that oppositional candidates are forced to leave. Not the first time in Belarus that regime threatened children of its opponents.
The wife of the blogger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, after sending her children to EU, picked up the mantle and became the candidate supported by the teams of jailed opponents of the regime. On the stage she was supported by wife of the ambassador and the team leader for the banker.
For the first time in Belarus, three women were leading resistance to the regime.
Elections on Sunday has seen unprecedented turn out by people. On many polling stations people were queuing for hours to cast their vote. As the voting closed, people stayed in front of polling stations, waiting for results to be announced.
For the first time in Belarus, the regime didn’t need to falsify turnout data! For the first time in Belarus, several local election commissions came out to the people and announced real results, overwhelming victory for the opposition.
At the same time, crowds gathered in the centre of Minsk as well as in many regional towns. As results were coming in, showing 80 per cent majority for Lukashenko, riot police started appearing in attempt to disburse already big crowds. All over Belarus, police used harsh measures against protesters, deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and flashbangs, driving police busses into the crowds. Unknown number of people were injured, over 3,000 arrested around the country (in 33 towns) and one person lost his life. In response, protestors started erecting barricades, throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks on riot police. Yesterday evening protesters gathering again, chanting “go away” and police forces responded again violence.
For the first time in Belarus, people stood the ground against the power of regime.
For the first time in Belarus, people are responding with violence to regimes violence.
For the first time in Belarus, regime is deploying paramilitary forces against the people.
For the first time in Belarus.
As Tuesday passes by, Svetlana Tihanovskaya was forced to leave the country and has fled to Lithuania. Many factories in Belarus have declared a general strike, people are determined more than ever to continue with protest, while the regime seems to be equally committed to supress it. And yet, last night there were several cases of police removing their helmets and dropping riot shields refusing to beat their own people.
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