Hundreds Of Arrests During Protests in Minsk



Uniformed troops crackdown with violence on the opposition protestors who demanded new presidential elections and the resignation of the dictator.



Hundreds of uniformed men in balaclavas attacked new protests by the opposition in the Belarusian capital Minsk. There have been seven hundred arrests, the Wesna Human Rights Center announced on its website spring96.org. By late afternoon there were 438 names listed. Videos and photos showed how uniformed men, some of them without identification, brutally pressed people onto the ground and pushed them into prisoner transporters.

In several places in the city, Omon Special Police took action against groups of people who were trying to gather in the city center. Despite the ban on demonstrations and the threat of violence by the authorities, thousands of people demonstrated on several streets in Minsk, like every Sunday. There were also demonstrations in other cities demanding the dictator Mr. Alexander Lukashenko's resignation.



The metro stations in Minsk were closed to prevent demonstrators from entering the city center. The mobile Internet was also largely switched off - this should make it more difficult to meet at meetings in the city. Troops blocked off several streets, and the police also used water cannons.

The protest movement sees civil rights activist Ms. Svetlana Tichanouskaya as the winner of the presidential election on August 9th. Ms. Tichanouskaya said that the people fought against Mr. Lukashenko for their freedom without fear and with perseverance: "We have been resisting lawlessness and violence for 90 days."

Protests against Mr. Lukashenko have been repeated in Belarussia since the controversial presidential election. With allegedly 80.1 percent of the vote, he had been declared the winner again after 26 years in power. The Belarusian state repeatedly acts brutally against demonstrators. There have been several dead, hundreds injured, and thousands arrested in the past few weeks.

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