Human chains are multiplying against oppression in Belarus

To protest the breakdown of protests against Lukashenko, thousands of Belarusians formed peaceful human chains in several places in the capital Minsk on Thursday. The authorities, for their part, have released more than 1,000 protesters as international pressure increases.

Human chains and peaceful marches were multiplied on Thursday, August 13 in Belarus to protest the violent repression of the movement protesting the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

In the evening, the authorities announced that they had released more than 1,000 protesters, while the police presence in the capital Minsk was much weaker than during the four previous protest nights.

Senate President Natalia Kotchanova confirmed on public television that these protesters had been released with the obligation not to attend unauthorized rallies. For his part, Interior Minister Yuri Karaev on Thursday, also on public television, prayed for the violence perpetrated against “passers-by” and “random people” who were not involved in the violence. of protest.

“Threat of rape”

Since Sunday, more than 6,700 people had been officially arrested. Many cases of police violence have also been reported. To protest this oppression, thousands of people still formed human chains at the beginning of the night in several places in Minsk, with the support of car horns. Similar gatherings were reported in other cities.

This form of mobilization, inaugurated the day before by dozens of women dressed in white, has so far not triggered repressive measures comparable to those aimed at the night demonstrations. “We are against violence, explosions, we are for honest choices,” Nastia, 26, an artist in the digital sector, told AFP and took part in a rally in the capital.

In a statement, the NGO Amnesty International on Thursday reported the case of protesters “stripped naked, beaten and threatened with rape” while being held in the regime’s prisons.

More than 1,000 Belarusian researchers signed a letter “against violence” while caregivers gathered in front of their facilities. Actors from the Minsk Philharmonic also sang patriotic songs in front of the building. According to opposition media, similar measures were taken in larger factories.

Silence of Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa

These protest movements come after four nights of repression of the demonstrations against Sunday’s re-election, which are judged to be fraudulent by the protesters, by the strong man from Belarus, in power for 26 years, and 80% of the votes are officially credited. For the protesters, it was Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa, a political novice, who won, after a campaign that brought an unprecedented joy in this former Soviet republic. She has not spoken since Tuesday, following her hasty departure to Lithuania, and according to her supporters, she has been threatened by security forces.

In a joint statement, the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Estonia, all neighbors of Belarus, on Thursday called for “phasing out” and called for a dialogue with the people. .

The United States and the European Union (EU) condemned electoral fraud and repression, with Europeans threatening Minsk with sanctions. The Belarusian ambassador to Berlin was also called. An extra meeting with EU foreign ministers will take place on Friday on the situation in the country.

Celebrities have intensified criticism of the authorities, while several state media journalists have announced their resignation in recent days. Retired and active Belarusian soldiers and police also anonymously condemned the outbreak and showed videos showing them throwing stripes and emblems.

With AFP