Belarus MoD threatens protesters with clashes with army ‘if peace is disturbed’

People who are waving white-red-white flags will be barred from ‘desecrating’ World War Two monuments and memorial places, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktar Khrenin said on August, 23.

In today’s statement, he made mention of the Great Patriotic War and the USSR’s fighting against the Third Reich. According to him, Nazis staged mass executions of Belarusians, Russians, Jews under white-red-white flags. However, he did not give any evidence.

The military have placed such memorial sites under their protection, Khrenin stated. He also delivered a stern warning to those who have been taking to the streets over the past two weeks:

” If order and peace are disturbed, the army, not the police, will be dealing with you!”

Last Sunday, the area adjacent to Minsk Hero City and the Museum of the Great Patriotic became the largest protest spot in Minsk, to which lots of people brought big and small national white-red-white flags. By various estimates, 250,000 – 400,000 people took part in Freedom March.

Today, over 200,000 people have participated in New Belarus March in the centre of Minsk, demanding, inter alia, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka‘s resignation, holding fair elections and releasing political prisoners.

Minsk, 23 August 2020. Photo: Iryna Arakhouskaya /

Notably, the minister kept his word: the stele and the museum were under strengthened guard who also fenced them off with barbed wire.

Minsk Hero City Stele. 23 August 2020. Photo: Iryna Arakhouskaya /
Opposition activist Maryia Kalesnikava at Minsk Hero City Stele. 23 August 2020. Photo: Alyaksandr Vasyukovich / /