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Other anti-Lukashenko protests dead, central Minsk shut down

A police car sends protesters to Minsk on August 12, 2020. – Sergei GAPON / AFP

The Belarussian authorities announced on Wednesday the death of a protester arrested during a collaboration against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, the second death recorded since the start of this violently repressed protest movement.

During the three previous protests, security forces arrested about 6,000 people across the country, without it being known how many are still being held. Since Sunday night, police have used stun grenades and rubber bullets against protesters and at least 250 injured have been hospitalized. Internet access has also been severely disrupted.

A very strong police repression

The commission of inquiry, a powerful investigative body, said a 25-year-old man died at a Gomel hospital (south) after he was arrested on Sunday during an “unauthorized demonstration”

;. According to this source, which does not specify the exact date of death, his health suddenly deteriorated while he was in custody.

The collisions also left a dead body in Minsk and police said they opened fire with live ammunition in Brest (southwest) and left one injured. In the capital’s hypercentre, metro stations were closed on Wednesday night and traffic was completely banned. Many police officers were also placed on several main streets.

Near the Ouroutché station, northeast of Minsk, protesters who formed a human chain of police were blown up and beaten, among shouts, according to an AFP journalist. Dozens of women have also formed human chains in other parts of the capital to condemn the police breakdown of protests against the presidential election of Alexander Lukashenko, who voted in August on August 9.

“You’re someone’s son too! “Proclaimed placards are carried by about fifty protesters, dressed in white, on Surganov Street, a usually very busy artery in the capital, tonight almost empty.

Oppression strongly condemned internationally

Neighboring countries in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on Wednesday unveiled a plan to set up a “national council” bringing together representatives of the Belarusian government and civil society under sanctions from Brussels.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “great concern” for him. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also reject the breakdown.

The Belarussian Interior Ministry estimated that the mobilization of protesters was now down.

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