Detained Belarusian blogger set to be Lukashenka’s rival in 2020 election

Popular vlogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski who was detained on Wednesday may join the 2020 presidential race in Belarus.

The man announced his intention on his Youtube channel on May, 7.

According to him, thousands of subscribers asked him to participate in the election campaign, claiming there is no other candidate they can support.

“I want Belarus to have fair and just trials so that everyone, if they are right, could prove it in court. Now this is not the case. All judges are appointed by the president and they follow his will. I think we should get back the Constitution which was stolen from us,” Tsikhanouski said.

He expressed outrage over ‘ the dictatorship established in the country’ and accused the leadership of ‘criminal negligence’.

“I want Belarus to have fair elections. In my videoblog, I showed a lot of videos about [election] fraud, and I have no doubt that all our elections have been rigged for more than 20 years,” the vlogger said.

On May 6, Tsikhanouski’s car was stopped by the traffic police not far from the Belarusian city of Mahiliou. The blogger was taken to the local predetention facility. The reasons for the arrest are still unknown.

Dozens of his subscribers showed up at organic protest rallies in Minsk, Hrodna and Mahiliou; some of them were detained.

A day earlier, Mahiliou police tried to bar Tsikhanouski from holding a meeting with the viewers. They attempted to detain his associate Zmitser, but the people who came to participate in the event did not let them to do that.

The resident of Homiel created Youtube channel Страна Для Жизни ( A Country for Life) that has nearly 140,000 subscribers. After covering December’s protests against deepening Belarus-Russia integration, he was sentenced to the total of 30 days in prison. In his Youtube videos, Tsikhanouski harshly criticises the policy pursued by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

People sentenced in bulk for pro-independence protests in Belarus