Authorities in Belarus stated Wednesday that post-election protests had been getting smaller after police violently put down the third night time of demonstrations.
Protesters gathered in Minsk and different cities on Tuesday night time to contest strongman President Alexander Lukashenko’s disputed victory in Sunday’s election after the primary challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya left the nation for Lithuania.
With important elements of central Minsk blocked off by riot police, they had been unable to collect in giant crowds as on earlier nights and smaller protests erupted in numerous elements of town.
“The variety of protesters was smaller final night time, as was the variety of cities the place protests occurred,” inside ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova informed AFP.
The ministry stated greater than 1,000 folks had been detained after protests Tuesday night time.
Protesters and witnesses stated riot police used indiscriminate pressure towards those that did collect, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets in Minsk suburbs.
There have been experiences of a number of journalists being confronted, with police pulling out reminiscence playing cards from photographers’ cameras and breaking their lenses.
Movies launched on social media confirmed police in Minsk kicking protesters mendacity susceptible on the bottom, smashing automobiles with truncheons and assaulting passers-by.
Yan, a 28-year-old paramedic from Minsk who has protested each night time because the election, stated police had begun to behave extra violently.
“Issues had been scary final night time, it was full lawlessness,” he informed AFP. “All of that is aimed toward intimidating folks in order that they preserve quiet.”
Oleg Gulak, the pinnacle of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee rights group, stated he was “shocked by the unprecedented stage of cruelty and violence” used towards protesters.
“Final night time was the scariest night time in Belarus’s trendy historical past,” he stated.
Dozens of individuals have been wounded within the crackdown and police stated that one protester died when an explosive gadget went off in his hand on Monday night time.
The protests broke out after authorities stated Lukashenko, who has been in energy since 1994, gained 80 p.c of the vote in Sunday’s polls.
Election officers stated Tikhanovskaya, a 37-year-old political novice who ran after different potential opposition candidates together with her husband had been jailed, got here second with 10 p.c.
Tikhanovskaya claimed victory, demanding that Lukashenko hand over energy, however left Belarus on Tuesday for neighbouring Lithuania, with supporters saying she got here below stress from authorities.