As soon as Elon Musk was tagged in a Twitter post requesting to spread the word on the political protests that have of late engulfed post-electoral Belarus, the SpaceX founder wrote:
“Sorry to hear this. What can we do to help?”
His subscribers en masse took to the comment section in the thread, depicting the tough situation in the East European country, and asking to assist the protesters in gaining the attention of the international community:
Hi Elon! Thank you for noticing the problem. First of all, the protesters in Belarus need the attention of the world community, I think you can help with this. You can help financially, here are the contacts of people who raise money for the protesters https://t.co/kdnFvwTEoE— Эрвин Вейков 🤍❤️🤍 (@renarddemoscou) August 13, 2020
“Corrupt media like @guardian and @CNN are trying to silence people of #Belarus. Almost zero coverage on murdered, injured and tortured by police”, one netizen wrote, urging Musk to “push media”.
“It's really heart-breaking how in any sort of civil protest in whatever country around the world there's always a battalion of riot police guys at the ready who seem to enjoy kicking the sh*t out of the common people”, another stated, while many others picked up on Internet access being cut across the country, which the protesters said was done on incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko’s order:
People are begging for your help to run public beta testing of the Starlink satellite internet project in Belarus after President Alexander Lukashenko (since 1994) ordered to block the Internet access and the country has been totally disconnected from the rest of the world.— malou (@RQoftheForest) August 13, 2020
Please install free satellite internet over Belarus as soon as possible. If Belarusians got internet, they won.) And the information component is also pure - this is an element of breaking the information blockade, the seed of the birth of new ideas. pic.twitter.com/l6PEQ57rq9— The Aliens: 🇺🇦 People, we are with You (@lUkraineLibre) August 13, 2020
Free internet from SpaceX Starlink for Belarus would be a good start.— Ledbetter✌️ (@icantbeworried) August 13, 2020
There were also those who suggested that Musk put in a word for the Belarusian people in Washington:
1/3 Thank you so much, Elon! You can ask the USA Government to react properly. Not to "be concerned", but to do the following:— Ivan Ivanitskiy (@IvanitskiyIvan) August 13, 2020
- admit that Likashenko is a usurper, and a war criminal and Tikhanovskaia is the rightful president of Belarus
A few weighed in on the debate, calling on Musk to concentrate on the upcoming election in the US instead, namely on the controversial mail-in voting proposed by the Democrats:
hi @elonmusk how about helping out in the US making sure the election is fair and democratic. Call your friend the rapper and tell him to lay off 'the politics' he is attempting. Put pressure on the Trump administration to see that the US postal service is not broken before elect— monica (@Vaksdalm) August 13, 2020
Protests have engulfed the Belarusian capital and several other cities since the presidential election on Sunday, with thousands taking to streets across the country to express their dissatisfaction with the outcome. The preliminary results of the polls showed Alexander Lukashenko winning with 80% of the ballots - something the enraged opposition attributed to gross rigging of the national vote.
The mass civil protests have seen demonstrators clash with riot police, who have resorted to rubber bullets and stun grenades, as per multiple witness accounts, to try to disperse the crowds, which have erected barricades and hurled fireworks at police. Several Russian journalists have been beaten and detained, including Sputnik and RT correspondents.
The opposition political forces referred to the vote, which grants Lukashenko his sixth term in a row, as a fraud, with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the key opposition presidential candidate, initially filing a complaint with the Central Election Committee. She later fled to Lithuania, having recorded a video message hinting that she is giving up her campaign and calling for protesters to express their dissatisfaction peacefully.