At least 100,000 Belarusian protesters took to the streets of Minsk on Sunday in one of many largest demonstrations but towards President Alexander Lukashenko after he claimed a landslide victory in an election his opponents say was rigged.
As public anger continued to construct towards Lukashenko, who has dominated the previous Soviet nation for 26 years, Moscow supplied him assist by saying it could ship paratroopers to Belarus for “Slavic Brotherhood” joint drills.
A wave of protests has swept Belarus because the Aug. 9 presidential election, which demonstrators say was really gained by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Key opposition figures have since both been jailed or fled the nation, with Tsikhanouskaya now in Lithuania.
Lukashenko denies the election was rigged and has mentioned overseas powers are behind the protests.
An unlimited column protesters marched by the capital Minsk in direction of an authorities district on Sunday, chanting “Long live Belarus” and “You’re a rat,” a taunt that has continuously been used towards Lukashenko throughout demonstrations.
They got here to a halt and chanted “fascists” as a whole lot of riot police with shields blocked off the street. Meanwhile, within the metropolis of Brest, police used water cannons on protesters, in line with the Nexta Live channel.
Police mentioned that they had detained over 400 folks in Minsk alone. A Reuters witness mentioned that detentions have been persevering with on Sunday night.
The environment was tense, with a big police presence in components of the capital, and a few central areas sealed off with barbed wire, together with Oktyabrskaya Square and Independence Square — frequent focus factors of anti-government rallies.
The Interfax Russian information company reported that pictures had been fired into the air to warn off protesters in a space of Minsk the place the Belarusian management lives.
An inside ministry mentioned later one shot was fired within the air.
The unrest comes as Lukashenko, in energy since 1994, prepares to journey to Russia on Monday for talks with President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow, a neighbor, and conventional ally has stepped up an assist, providing to probably restructure Belarusian debt, and offering banking liquidity. It has additionally mentioned Russian riot police may very well be made accessible if wanted.
On Sunday, Russia’s protection ministry mentioned it could ship paratroopers from its elite Pskov division to Belarus for the joint drills beginning on Monday and operating until Sept. 25, the TASS state information company reported.
On the streets of Minsk, some critics of Lukashenko expressed hope that the sheer dimension of Sunday’s protests would undermine the Belarusian chief and make it tough for Putin to again him brazenly.
“We have to show with this march that he (Lukashenko) doesn’t control the country, that he is not in a position to speak on behalf of Belarusians,” mentioned Gennady, 35, a logistics employee who declined to offer his surname.