Anti-Government Demonstrations Continue

Aug 12, 2020

During the evening of 10 August 2020, anti-government demonstrations continued in the capital Minsk and elsewhere in Belarus, including in Gomel, Grodno and Brest, among others, to protest the official election results in which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was declared victor with 80% of the vote. Minsk authorities closed multiple metro stations and deployed a large contingent of security personnel. Protesters also gathered at Victory Square and blocked the intersection of Kalvaryjskaya street and First Ring road. Authorities deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesters, who used Molotov cocktails in some instances. At least one person was killed during the unrest, but additional information regarding casualties and arrests remain unknown. In related developments, the main opposition candidate in the election, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, was detained on 10 August after filing a complaint with the election commission against the results, and later emerged in neighboring Lithuania on 11 August to be with her children. The circumstances regarding her departure remain unknown. Additionally, ongoing internet disruptions are being reported nationwide.

Analyst Comment: As a result of the recent political unrest and violence, as well as a high likelihood that the unrest will continue — increasing concerns regarding political instability — the threat levels for both Belarus and Minsk have been raised to 3 (Medium) from 2 (Low). Individuals in Belarus should avoid all large gatherings, particularly in Minsk — where the most violent confrontations have occurred.

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