Presidential election in Belarus: to the next victory by force

Presidential election in Belarus: to the next victory by force

In the election in Belarus, President Lukashenko claims to have received 80 percent of the vote. He has protests against forgeries put down.

“For adults only”, it says in the opening credits of the video. And it shows how a truck of the Belarusian police forces runs over a protester. The scene took place on Sunday evening in the center of the Belarusian capital Minsk. On Monday Valentin Stefanowitsch from the Minsk human rights center Vjasna (Spring) could only report the death of the demonstrator.

Photos on social networks showed demonstrators with bloodied faces, some of whom lay motionless on the ground, and police officers who set about removing the injured. “It was terrible, just terrible, what happened in the center of our capital on Sunday evening,” reports the teacher Nadja from Belarus’ capital Minsk on the phone. “Although our boys and the young women knew what was in store for them, they built barricades and opposed the police,” said the 50-year-old.

“It was a mixture of fear, determination and a spirit of optimism that I saw among the young people on the barricades,” she reports and apologizes for not being well informed. “The internet is blocked all over the country. And with Telegram only the SMS function works,” she complains.

In contrast, President Alexander Lukashenko asserted that, according to his information, the demonstrators were incited to the actions from abroad. He will not allow a Maidan in Belarus.

In the Belarusian capital Minsk, the police attacked tens of thousands of demonstrators on Sunday night with water cannons, rubber bullets and stun grenades. The Belarusian human rights organization Charta97 speaks of over 100,000 people who took to the streets in Minsk alone out of anger over the election fraud.

According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, 3,000 demonstrators were arrested across the country and 50 civilians and 39 police officers were injured. According to reports by the human rights organization Vjasna, 16 journalists and 40 election observers were among those arrested.Numerous demonstrators and journalists were injured during the night. The Belapan news agency reports on a young man who was injured in the leg by a stun grenade explosion. Mstislav Chernov, cameraman for the Associated Press news agency, was beaten by police and had to be taken to a doctor.

The government had apparently been preparing for a storm by the official electoral commission. This emerges from a statement by the election officer Lidia Yermoschina. She was evacuated from the government building at 1 a.m.

According to the official election commission, Alexander Lukashenko is said to have won the election with a turnout of 84 percent with 80.23 percent of the vote. His challenger Swetlana Tichanowska came to 9.9 percent.

The opposition presents completely different figures. According to a survey of 85,500 people carried out by the opposition, 72.1 percent said they had given their vote to Svetlana Tichanowska, and 13.7 percent to Alexander Lukashenko, reports the Charter97. The challenger Tichanovskaya declared herself the winner of the election. Now it is up to the government, according to the 37-year-old, to peacefully hand over power.

Outside the capital, too, people took to the streets against the election fraud. Here the police were not always superior. A video circulating on the Internet shows how police special forces (Omon) in Baranowitschi are fleeing from the demonstrators.

In Pinsk, the head of the city council spoke to the demonstrators. Previously, the Omon police had put their protective shields on the ground in front of the demonstrators. Thousands also roamed the city in Grodno, Brest, Vitebsk, Kobrin and Soligorsk.

The authorities want to severely punish arrested demonstrators. The Belapan news agency quoted the head of the state investigation committee, Ivan Noskewitsch, as saying that criminal proceedings will be initiated for “mass unrest and violence against the militia”. If convicted, prison sentences of between 8 and 15 years could be imposed.

Now it is important to start the nationwide general strike immediately, said Dmitrij Bondarenko, spokesman for the European Belarus campaign. Every day people should gather in central places and demand the departure of Alexander Lukashenko.

Moskovsky Komsomolez, appearing in Moscow, also reports on a first strike against Lukashenko. The metallurgical plant in Minsk has been on strike against the election fraud since the morning. Workers have also announced strikes in other plants. The Soligorsk miners are among those willing to strike.

Belarusians also protested in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. An action in front of the Belarusian embassy was announced for Monday evening. Belarusian citizens had the opportunity to vote there on Sunday. It is simply incomprehensible that there are still no election records of the voting in the embassy in Kiev, the Belarusian activist Palina Brodik complains.

The Belarusian journalist Denis Lavnikewitsch reports that on Sunday he waited several hours in vain for the opportunity to vote in the embassy in Kiev. “I wanted to cast my vote here, but I wasn’t allowed to go to the polling station. Only 200 people were allowed to vote. There were a few thousand who wanted to vote,” said the journalist. The official final result is expected on August 14th.

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