In Belarus, massive protests against a rigged presidential election have continued despite violent reprisals from riot police loyal to President Aleksandr Lukashenko. On 9 August 2020, Belarusian authorities announced that Lukashenko, who has been in power for a quarter-century, had won a landslide victory with 80% of the vote. This is widely understood to be a false claim. Following the election, opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, whose husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, has been a political prisoner since May 2020, was detained for several hours in Minsk. During that time she was filmed reading from a prepared text in which she asked her supporters to cease protests and accept the election results. She was clearly under duress. Shortly afterwards she left the country. The protests continue. There are very few foreign journalists in Belarus; those who are there are presently in danger. IWM will continue to publish a selection of reports from Belarus as they become available.
For the historical background on Belarus read Timothy Snyder’s book “Bloodlands“.