Following a monster demonstration against the results of the disputed presidential election on August 9, Belarusian authorities on Monday arrested opponents and striking leaders.
If the unprecedented protest movement against Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko enters its third week, the head of state, for his part, will increase the number of battle statements and stage and intensify the repression a little more after the monster demonstration on 23 August.
On Monday, several protesters and strike organizers were arrested. Nobel Laureate in Literature Svetlana Alexievich was called by the investigators as a member of the “Coordination Council”. This “council”, which is intended for the opposition, is intended to promote a peaceful transfer of power, is the subject of prosecution for “threats to national security”.
Two of its members, Sergei Dilevsky and Olga Kovalkova, were arrested on Monday at the entrance to the iconic Minsk tractor factory (MTZ) for illegally organizing a strike according to their supporters. In addition to his seat on this “council”, Sergei Dilevsky is also chairman of the strike committee for this factory.
The chairman of the strike committee in another production of heavy vehicles (MZKT), Alexander Lavrinovich, was also arrested by the police on Monday while collecting signatures in favor of a new work stoppage. Co-chair of the strike committee for Belaruskali potash producer Bokun Anatoli was also arrested on Monday in Soligorsk, an industrial city about 135 km south of Minsk.
Three people were also arrested in the evening on the sidelines of a new opposition rally in Minsk.
Lithuania’s border event
Alexander Lukashenko has meanwhile continued to show muscle since the protests began, condemning a Western conspiracy and strengthening the army at the borders, especially near Lithuania, where the release of balloons in support of the protesters caused an incident.
According to Vilnius, a Belarusian military helicopter violated the airspace of this EU and NATO member state for a few minutes on Monday. Minsk, for its part, said it had countered an “attempted break” of its airspace with “a probe consisting of eight balloons with symbols against the government”.
Alexander Lukashenko accused the opposition “council” of wanting to “seize power” and threatened to “cool some hotheads” in it. Again on Monday, the state news agency Belta released a video that brought together war statements from Alexander Lukashenko about a score for an action film, which especially shows him, weapons in hand, praising the riot police.
Alexandre Loukachenko spoke by telephone on Monday with Vladimir Poutine, his main ally despite a checkered relationship, and informed his Russian counterpart of the “measures taken to normalize the situation” in Belarus, according to the Kremlin.