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Rally in Minsk - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Security Forces Detain at Least 140 Protesters at Opposition Rally in Minsk

Protests in Belarus have been ongoing for weeks, ignited by the results of the presidential vote that secured a sixth consecutive win for incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko. The opposition has rejected the official results, maintaining that it was, in fact, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the key opposition figure, who won the election.

Police have detained protesters at Independence Square in central Minsk, media reported on Sunday, citing witnesses at the scene.

Earlier, police enhanced their presence in the capital, blocking access to some of Minsk's central squares. Exits from several metro stations situated near the anticipated protest venues have also been closed.

Law enforcement officers have been dispatched to patrol Independence Square, where key government buildings are located.

Belarus has been engulfed in mass protests in the wake of the 9 August presidential election that handed a win to the incumbent President Lukashenko, paving way for his sixth term in office.  The opposition strongly rejects the results of the vote and also accuse the security forces of resorting to excessive violence during the protests.

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17:21 GMT 30.08.2020

Nikolai Latyshenok, an aid to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, told protesters who gathered outside the presidential residence in Minsk on Sunday that he believed 20 to 30 percent of citizens at best were against the incumbent.

"I have not been to the polling stations. Now about 20-30 percent [are against Lukashenko] but [this figure] was less. Now people have been provoked. At the moment, maybe [20-30 percent], but this is the maximum figure that I can imagine in my head. I do not have exact numbers, either from one side or the other. This is what I think", Latyshenok said.

16:48 GMT 30.08.2020
16:09 GMT 30.08.2020
15:57 GMT 30.08.2020
15:53 GMT 30.08.2020

MINSK (Sputnik) - A brutal crackdown on protests in Minsk after the presidential election in Belarus only happened because demonstrators started erecting barricades, a presidential aide said Sunday.

"It was because people had built barricades. And, secondly, they blocked the roads and made it difficult for ordinary citizens to move around the city", Nikolai Latyshenok told Sputnik during a meeting with protesters outside the presidential residence.

Latyshenok, Alexander Lukashenko’s aide in charge of general affairs, confirmed to the crowd protesting outside the residence that the president was inside the Independence Palace.

15:04 GMT 30.08.2020
14:42 GMT 30.08.2020

PARIS (Sputnik) - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian condemned in a statement on Sunday actions of the Belarusian authorities against reporters covering nationwide protests against the outcome of the presidential election.

"Arbitrary measures taken by the Belarusian authorities against journalists violate the freedom of the press. I condemn them", the statement published on the Foreign Ministry's website said.

Le Drian urged Minsk to cancel the measures affecting journalists and stressed that an inclusive national dialogue should be established in Belarus.

On Thursday, about 50 reporters, who came to the country to cover an unauthorized opposition rally in Minsk, were detained by the police. Most of them were subsequently released. The ministry added that one of them faced charges in an administrative case and one foreign journalist "was voluntarily expelled from the country." On Saturday, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry withdrew the accreditation of four journalists holding Russian citizenship and working for Western media outlets and expelled them. The Belarusian Association of Journalists then reported that accreditation of 10 more journalists was halted by Minsk.


14:21 GMT 30.08.2020

The protest was also interrupted by heavy rain, forcing some protesters to leave or take shelter under cover.

13:22 GMT 30.08.2020

MINSK (Sputnik) - Armoured personnel carriers have approached a police cordon outside the residence of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk amid the ongoing anti-government protest on Sunday, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene.

Earlier in the day, the correspondent said that security forces blocked the way towards the residence with special equipment after thousands of protesters started marching toward the building.

Currently, demonstrators are standing in front of the police fence and are clapping, shouting and chanting slogans. Security forces are not reacting.

The correspondent also reported that the police have been calling on protesters, via loudspeakers, to stop violating public order, but demonstrators have ignored their orders.


13:13 GMT 30.08.2020

MINSK (Sputnik) - Belarusian security forces deployed special equipment and arrested 125 people during an ongoing anti-government protest in Minsk by 13:00 GMT on Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry said.

"As of 04:00 p.m. local time [13:00 GMT], 125 citizens were detained in Minsk, and an administrative process was initiated against them for participating in unauthorised mass rallies … the special equipment and gear is used", the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman added that the ministry had repeatedly called on people to avoid participating in unauthorised protests and involving children in such rallies.

12:25 GMT 30.08.2020

MINSK (Sputnik) - A1, a major telecom firm operating in Belarus, slowed down mobile internet speeds in Minsk on Sunday as thousands gathered in the city to protest what they see as vote-rigging.

"The mobile internet bandwidth in Minsk has been limited at the order of government agencies. The compliance with this requirement may slow data transfer or make the service temporarily unavailable," it tweeted.

The operator said it would announce the return to normal business separately, adding it hoped this would happen soon.

The eastern European nation’s government shut much of the internet down after massive protests began against the outcome of the August 9 election. The connection was eventually restored but service operators said they were ordered to throttle speeds during major rallies.

11:46 GMT 30.08.2020

The road traffic has not been disrupted. The police have been urging the demonstrators to follow traffic rules. 

Belarus Opposition Rally - Sputnik International
11:35 GMT 30.08.2020

The incident occurred at Independence Avenue near the KGB headquarters. After the confrontation, police officers, dressed in civilian clothes, put the protesters into buses without licence plates and left the scene.

Minsk rally - Sputnik International
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