Several metro stations were closed and a heavy police presence was evident in downtown Minsk as demonstrators took to the streets again to protest against the reelection of President Alexander Lukashenko. Many were arrested.
On Monday evening, protesters gathered in small groups around the Victory Square, the epicenter of last night’s rallies, which is surrounded by various public buildings. A strong police presence was documented in the area. More than a hundred opposition supporters assembled at the nearby Jubilee Hotel and police were arresting some of them, local media reported.
Riot police have used flash-bangs to disperse demonstrators, local outlets and social media videos indicate. By local reports, some 30 people have been detained in the first hour of the protests.
Demonstrators blocked Kalvaryjskaya street, a major thoroughfare in western Minsk, near the intersection with the First Ring road. There were reports of “explosions” as police moved to disperse them.
Перед тем как его задержали, наш корреспондент Костя Придыбайло из Минска успел передать это фото, написав: «ОМОН притаился за Дворцом спорта» pic.twitter.com/jPz8uwWMUP
— RT на русском (@RT_russian) August 10, 2020
The Minsk Metro closed six downtown stations at 6:25pm local time, “to ensure the security of passengers.” A Ruptly agency stringer said the situation in downtown Minsk was getting “dangerous.”
RT Russian correspondent Kostya Pridybaylo was detained by the police after taking a photo of them gathering at the Palace of Sports in Minsk, but was released shortly after being transported to a different part of town.
“We were treated, one might say, gently,” he said.
Another journalist, Semyon Pegov, remains under arrest. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is personally involved in efforts to secure his release, as well as several other Russian journalists detained during Sunday’s unrest, MFA spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday.
Arrests were also made in the northeastern city of Vitebsk, where a protest melted away under a heavy rainstorm. In the western city of Brest, riot police patrols were in evidence at the intersection where protesters clashed with authorities on Sunday, while major streets and cafes remained closed.
Protests erupted on Sunday evening after President Alexander Lukashenko announced he had been reelected with almost 80 percent of the vote, while opposition candidates accused him of election fraud.
Over 3,000 people were detained in the initial clashes. On Monday, the Investigative Committee of Belarus said that more than 80 were arrested, “most of them young and in a state of drug or alcohol intoxication.” Some of them face charges of rioting, and punishments of up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
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