Violent Belarus protests

This item appears on page 4 of the October 2020 issue.

After a disputed election in Belarus on Aug. 9 in which ruling president Alexander Lukashenko claimed 80% of the vote, mass protests were held throughout the country on multiple days in favor of the opposition.

On the night after the election, a large protest was held in the capital, Minsk, resulting in more than 3,000 arrests, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters.

In further rallies in the capital on Aug. 16 and 23, the protesters, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, clashed with police, resulting in at least four deaths. During the protests, Lukashenko was seen flying above in a helicopter wearing a bulletproof vest and holding an assault rifle.

Protests are rare in Belarus, where, in the Soviet style, the country owns both the media and most industries. Lukashenko has been its leader since the country’s first presidential election in 1994.