01:53 GMT27 September 2020
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    People took to the streets of the Belarusian capital Minsk and many other cities in the days following the Sunday presidential election that saw the country's incumbent President Aleksander Lukashenko re-elected for a sixth consecutive term atop his 26 years of presidency.

    The Minsk City Council estimated on Wednesday the damages that the city suffered due to the unrest, which broke out after the presidential election, at over $200,000.

    Police used water cannons, stun grenades, and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. Thousands of people were arrested and many journalists, both local and foreign, went missing. Internet access was reportedly cut in Minsk and other Belarusian cities.

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    • 01:15

      Two People Who Made Molotov Cocktails Detained - Belarusian Interior Ministry

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Riot police have detained in Minsk two young men who made Molotov cocktails, Belarusian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova said Wednesday.

      “Today at 19:40 on Yakubovskogo Street in Minsk, riot police officers detained two residents of the capital who were filling bottles with Molotov cocktails," Chemodanova said on Telegram.

    • 20:48

      Belarusian Special Forces Use Pump Action Guns to Push Back Protesters in Minsk

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Belarusian special forces used pump action rifles to intimidate and push back protesters near the Uruchcha metro station in Minsk, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Wednesday.

      Protesters were largely female during the day and were later replaced by young men shouting "Go away" and "Long Live Belarus!" The special forces, which were stationed in the area in the first half of the day, withdrew but later returned.

      Several groups of security officers and vehicles for transporting people appeared on both sides of Independence Avenue.

      Some protesters threw bottles in the direction of the special forces after the latter fired warning shots with pump action guns. According to the correspondent, there are no direct clashes or detentions.

    • 20:03

      Russian Citizen Vazhenkov Faces up to 15 Years in Prison in Belarus Riot Case, Lawyer Says

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Russian citizen Artem Vazhenkov, who is an employee of political organization Open Russia founded by exiled tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, may face up to 15 years in prison in Belarus in a criminal case of mass riots, his lawyer Anton Gashinsky told Sputnik.

      Earlier, Belarusian state-run agency Belta published a video with people detained in Belarus, who were called "provocateurs" of the riots in Minsk, two of them saying they were from Russia. Open Russia said that it had identified them as its employees Artem Vazhenkov and Igor Rogov. The Investigative Committee of Belarus reported that Vazhenkov and Rogov were in custody in the case of mass riots and are in the status of suspects. Rogov was later released.

      "Vazhenkov is being held as a suspect in the mass riots case. The penalty under this article provides for from eight to 15 years in prison," Gashinsky said.

      According to the lawyer, Vazhenkov is in a temporary detention facility. A lawyer must be allowed to see him, but this will not happen until Thursday. Gashinsky said that he planned to meet with the investigator, who would most likely require a non-disclosure agreement from the defense lawyer.

      "He will not go to Russia yet, he will go to a pre-trial detention facility, most likely," Gashinsky said.

      He added that Russian diplomats were dealing with the issue of Vazhenkov's return to his homeland.

      The lawyer believes that the interest to Vazhenkov on the part of law enforcement officers is due to the fact that he represents Open Russia. At the same time, Vazhenkov's colleague Igor Rogov was released and handed over to diplomats.

      "There is no difference between them, they [Russian diplomats] just managed to snatch one, but not the other," Gashinsky said.

    • 19:56

      EU Has Economic Leverage Over Lukashenko to Calm Situation, Czech FM Claims

      PRAGUE (Sputnik) - The European Union has economic leverage over Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, which may be used to calm down the ongoing violence, Czech Republic's Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said on Wednesday.

      Earlier in the day, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he was shocked by the situation in Belarus and called on the European Union to respond.

      "Recently, it seemed that president Lukashenko wanted to develop relations with the EU and improve the image of his country in the eyes of the world community. But what is happening in Belarus these days shows that this representative of the last authoritarian regime in Europe has decided to take a different path. On Friday, the situation in Belarus will be reviewed by the EU foreign ministers, including the possible use of existing economic instruments to influence Lukashenko's actions, including sanctions," the foreign minister stated.

      Petricek recalled that Belarus was a member state of the Eastern Partnership initiative that implied possibility of exerting financial pressure on Minsk by Brussels.

      "A question on whether in this situation it is necessary to finance some projects in Belarus arises," he said.

    • 19:30

      Belarusian Journalist Association Announces Release of Polish Reporters Detained in Minsk

      Both journalists from the Polish TV channel Belsat, earlier detained in Minsk, have been released, the Belarusian Association of Journalists said.

      "Journalists Lyubov Luneva and Dmitry Soltan are free! They were detained by the traffic police tonight. They were released," the association said.

    • 19:21

      Belarusian Opposition Supporters Hold Unimpeded Rally in Downtown Minsk

      MINSK (Sputnik) - Supporters of the Belarusian opposition are holding an unimpeded rally on Independence Avenue in the city center of Minsk, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Wednesday.

      About 100 protesters are standing on the sidewalk near the Tsum department store, shouting slogans and waving flowers that they brought in honor of the victims of the protests. Another group has gathered at the Victory Square.

      At the same time, the traffic did not stop throughout the rally. Many passing drivers were honking in support.

      The police are not interfering in rallies, however, officers are patrolling the avenue.

    • 19:16

      Second Policeman Overridden, Hospitalized in Belarus Amid Mass Protests

      The Belarusian Interior Ministry confirmed that a second police officer was run over on Wednesday. He was transferred to the hospital.

      “The culprit, the Great Wall Hover driver, tried to escape. Traffic police pursued in an official car with red and blue lights flashing. The driver did not respond to repeated requests to stop", Olga Chemodanova, the Ministry's press secretary, wrote in her Telegram channel.

      Earlier on Wednesday, a 45-year-old man ran into a traffic police officer in Minsk, and was detained.

    • 19:12

      Polish Press Association Unable to Reach Journalist Believed Detained in Belarus

      WARSAW (Sputnik) - The Polish Journalists Association (SDF) said it has been unable to establish contact with photojournalist Witold Dobrowolski, who went missing in Belarus, for over 24 hours.

      Dobrowolski is believed to have been detained on Tuesday while covering the public unrest over the presidential election results.

      "Witold Dobrowolski is a member of the Polish Journalists Association. He is also a Grand Press Photo 2020 laureate for coverage of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, we have no news of him or from him," SDF coordinator Dorota Zielinska told Sputnik in a correspondence.

      According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, at least 55 journalists have been detained since the outbreak of public protests in Belarus on Sunday night.

      Along with the journalists, thousands of people have been detained in sporadic protests popping up in various parts of the country.

    • 19:02

      Investigation Launched Into Death of 25-Year-Old Detained by Riot Police in Belarus' Gomel

      The Belarusian Investigative Committee has launched an investigation into the death of a 25-year-old man in Gomel, who had been detained by riot police.

      The Gomel resident was taken into custody on 9 August for actively participating in an unauthorized mass event.

    • 18:19

      Dozens Gather Near Belarusian Embassy in Moscow to Show Solidarity With Protesters

      Dozens of people gathered near the Belarusian embassy in central Moscow on Wednesday to express solidarity with protesters in their home country, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene.

      The situation is calm. Some people linked their hands to form a human chain. Law enforcement officers are observing the event. At least ten police buses are parked opposite the embassy's main entrance.

      "We have come here to support peaceful citizens who participate in peaceful rallies in Belarus. We are all from Belarus, I was born and raised there and I am worried about what is now happening there", one of the participants said.

    • 18:08

      Belarus Internal Troops Cordon Off Area of Sunday's Protests in Minsk

      Belarus' Internal Troops and police have cordoned off the area near Minsk Hero City Obelisk, which saw large-scale clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers on 9 August, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene on Wednesday.

      Vehicles of internal troops and police vans are on standby. Neighbouring squares and streets are being patrolled by riot police as protesters start gathering for another evening of unrest.

    • 18:08

      Minsk Special Forces Fire at People Shouting From Balconies in Support of Protesters

      Riot police in Minsk have opened fire with pump-action rifles at people who were shouting to protesters from their balconies, Sputnik Belarus reported.

      Protesters near the Grushevka metro station were running away from special forces, the report says. According to Sputnik Belarus, people in balconies were helping the fleeing protesters when the riot police fired several times in the direction of the balconies.

    • 18:07

      Belarusian Women Hold Peaceful Rally Against Police Violence - Video

      Belarusian Women Hold Peaceful Rally Against Police Violence

      Belarusian Women Hold Peaceful Rally Against Police Violence - Video

      MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A group of women dressed in white lined up on Wednesday in downtown Minsk to protest against police violence during the dispersal of civil protests, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene.
      Read more
    • 16:46

      Two Ukrainian Journalists Detained in Minsk, Belarusian Association of Journalists Says

      Two journalists from Ukrainian media were detained in Minsk, the Belarusian Association of Journalists said on Wednesday.

      "New detentions of journalists in Minsk. Journalists Konstantin Reutskiy (Hromadske TV channel) and Yevgeny Vasilyev were detained near Victory Square. They were detained by traffic police officers, communication with them was lost", the statement says.

    • 16:29

      UN Human Rights Chief Condemns Belarus’ ‘Violent Response’ to Protests

      "UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday condemned the violent response of the Belarusian authorities to the peaceful demonstrations held across the country in the aftermath of the presidential election and called for people’s grievances to be heard", the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. "The High Commissioner called for the immediate release of all those who have been unlawfully detained, and for prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of human rights violations".

    • 15:47

      Belarusian Presidential Candidate Kanopatskaya to Ask Watchdog to Disqualify Election

      "My stance is to demand that the election be considered invalid across the country, regardless of the results announced by the Central Electoral Commission. I am submitting a complaint today, as a Belarusian presidential candidate", Belarusian presidential candidate Anna Kanopatskaya said.

      Kanopatskaya confirmed later in the day that she had already filed the complaint and that she remained in Belarus amid the protests against the vote results that showed the victory of incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko.

      "I am not going to leave the country. After the CEC reviews my complaint, I will have 10 days to appeal it to the Belarusian Supreme Court", the candidate noted.

      Kanopatskaya believes that the electoral watchdog's review will end up "with a predictable result".

    • 14:57

      Putin, Macron Discuss Belarus in Phone Call, Kremlin Says

      Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the situation in Belarus, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

      "The [conversation] concerned Belarus, among other things", the Kremlin said.

      After a recent presidential election, Belarus saw a series of protests.

    • 14:16

      EU Must Discuss Targeted Sanctions Against Belarus, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Says

      "[We] must discuss sanctions. The kind of sanctions that would harm those who abused rights and used force without reason rather than people in general, because I think those were peaceful protesters, they were not smashing windows, burning cars. They just wanted to be heard. And by the way, I think some of them have never been involved in anything political. They just felt they had to speak up", Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius said as aired on Ekho Moskvy broadcaster.

      Lithuania has nothing to do with the protests, which happened in several Belarusian cities after a presidential election, Linkevicius said.

      "Of course not", the diplomat said, when asked if Vilnius was involved, and added that it was illogical.

      "We are interested in stability and predictability. Especially since we want Belarus to be closer to Europe not only geographically but by other criteria, too", Linkevicius said.

    • 14:16

      Russian Journalists' Union Lodges Strong Protest to Minsk Over Reporter Detentions

      "The Russian Union of Journalists lodges a strong protest to the Belarusian authorities in connection with the behavior of the security forces against our colleagues. According to eyewitnesses, the Belarusian police and riot police act with extreme cruelty against reporters. Journalists are beaten, expensive equipment is broken, and personal belongings are seized. The Union considers such practices of the Belarusian authorities absolutely unacceptable and demands that violence against media representatives be stopped immediately", the statement reads.

    • 13:14

      Parliaments of Poland, Baltic Nations Urge Minsk to End Use of Force Against Protesters

      In a joint statement, published on Wednesday, еhe chairs of the foreign affairs committees of the parliaments of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said that they "received with deep regret the information about the repressions against civil society and the media before, during and after the presidential elections that took place on 9 August in Belarus".

      "We call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately end the use of force and persecution. The activities that we are observing do not fit within the democratic standards", the document read.

      The senior lawmakers described the right for a free election, as well as freedom of speech and assembly, as fundamental human rights, urging Minsk to release "all political prisoners" and those "illegitimately detained in recent days".

      They called for a "genuine social dialogue for the much expected changes that Belarusians find desirable and necessary", calling the latter a "proud, prudent, responsible European society, whose courage and wisdom demonstrated in recent days inspire us to act together".

    • 12:31

      Lukashenko Convenes Meeting on Security, Constitutional Order Protection, Reports Say

      Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko convened on Wednesday a meeting on security and protection of the constitutional order, Pool Pervogo Telegram channel reported.

      According to the Telegram channel, guaranteeing Belarusian citizens safety, protecting the constitutional order and ensuring normal functioning of governmental bodies is currently the key task for the authorities, chiefly the Security Council.

    • 12:30

      Czech Prime Minister Shocked by Situation in Belarus, Calls on EU to React

      "I am shocked by the situation that is currently unfolding in Belarus. I have not expected this could happen in Europe, so close to us. The Belarusian citizens have the same right for democracy and freedom as we have. I believe that the EU will urgently study the situation in Belarus and take steps to support the Belarusian people", Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said at a press conference after talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    • 12:29

      Belarusian Investigators Have Established That Babariko's Campaign Office is Behind Unrest, Reports Say

      Belarusian investigators believe that the campaign of former presidential candidate Viktor Babariko, may have been linked to the recent unrest in the country, according to the official news agency Belta.

      Babariko, who had been the head of Belgazprombank for almost 20 years, was not on the ballot. In June, the head office of the bank was searched. The State Control Committee said that a criminal group was using the bank to funnel money abroad. Babariko and his son were detained on 18 June.

    • 11:08

      No Information About Two Ruptly Stringers for Fourth Day

      RT broadcaster said on Sunday that two cameramen working for Ruptly video service had been detained in Minsk while covering the presidential election in Belarus, adding that the contact with them was lost over four days ago. 

    • 10:35

      Belarusian Foreign Minister Discusses Foreign Meddling Attempts With Latvian Counterpart

      Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei held on Wednesday a phone conversation with his Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkevics, on the situation in Belarus after the presidential election, and briefed the latter on attempts of foreign meddling, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said.

      "Makei's colleague was informed in detail about the situation in Belarus after the presidential election and about attempts of external interference in the internal political situation in the country. Rinkevics, in his turn, outlined the Latvian side's vision of the ongoing processes. The Foreign Ministers also discussed the prospects for the development of Belarus – EU relations and stated the importance of preserving the channels of communication and further dialogue between Minsk and Brussels at various levels", the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    • 10:32

      Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia Discuss Need for Response to Situation in Belarus, Foreign Minister Linkevicius Says

    • 10:30

      Minsk City Council Estimates Damage From Unrest at Over $200,000

      "According to preliminary estimates, it exceeds 500,000 [Belarusian] rubles [over $200,00]", Vladimir Lebed, the head of the city council's municipal services department, said in an interview with Belarus-1 broadcaster.

      The damage was done to bus stations, pavement, traffic lights, road signs, trash bins and flower beds, Lebed specified. The Belarusian capital's community services are implementing urgent measures to restore order, the city council official added.

    Live Updates: Minsk Special Forces Fire at People Shouting From Balconies in Support of Protesters
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