Belarus – The opposition is back in the streets of Minsk

A new demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko takes place in the Belarusian capital on Sunday. Eleven people were arrested, according to a human rights organization.

Belarussian opposition supporters took to the streets on Sunday for a new demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko, amid anger over the death of an opponent who had been arrested by the police.

Law enforcement officials began to disperse the protest in Minsk almost immediately after it began at 12:00 p.m. (10:00 a.m. in Switzerland), including using stun grenades and tear gas, according to local media, which released videos showing the men. Hooded people chasing a group of people on an avenue.

According to the Belarusian human rights organization Viasna, at least 11 people have been arrested by the police, including two journalists.

Before the demonstration, around fifteen metro stations were closed and the mobile network was experiencing cuts, according to an AFP journalist.

This demonstration follows that of Friday, when thousands of people protested in tribute to an opponent who died after his arrest in this country shaken by a wave of protest unprecedented since the controversial presidential election of August 9.

Arrested and deceased

Roman Bondarenko, 31, was arrested by police on Wednesday after an altercation between residents and masked men who removed red and white ribbons, the colors of the opposition, hung in a building courtyard in Minsk.

Suffering from brain damage, he died the next day in a hospital, amid heavy suspicions of beatings during his detention.

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a refugee in Lithuania, had called for a tribute to a “man who was killed because he wanted to live in a free country.”

Orderly investigation

President Alexander Lukashenko offered his condolences on Friday and ordered an “honest and objective” investigation into the circumstances of Roman Bondarenko’s death.

Since the start of the protest, at least four people have died during demonstrations or after their arrest, but other suspicious deaths point to a heavier toll.

Thousands of demonstrators have also been arrested since the beginning of the movement and dozens of them have denounced torture during their detention.

Supported by Moscow, Alexander Lukashenko refuses to leave power and only mentioned vague constitutional reforms in an attempt to calm the protest.

ATS / NXP

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