‘Step down’, ‘Stop violence’. Biggest-ever protest rally in Minsk
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In Minsk, a solidarity march started at 14.00 in Independence Avenue on Sunday. The rallies also took place in other cities and towns.
Earlier, state-run organisation Belaya Rus called citizens to show up at a ‘purely peaceful rally of those who support policy of the state’ in Minsk on August, 16. The event kicked off at about 12.30 in Independence Square (part of Independence Avenue). There were numerous reports that the participants in the rally (kolkhoz chairpersons, school directors, representatives of local authorities) were being taken to Minsk from different parts of Belarus by special buses and trains.
In turn, by various estimates, 220,000 – 400,000 Belarusians showed up at today’s march for freedom in Minsk, which makes it the biggest protest event in the history of Belarus. At about 2 pm, people started to gather near the stele in Victors’ Avenue. They were holding flags, banners and self-made posters, chanting slogans, walking and talking. A few hours later, a column headed to Independence Square.
See our photo report:
Stele in Victors’ Avenue. March for freedom in Minsk, 16 August 2020.
Thousands of Belarusians have been protesting throughout the country since August 9, the election day day. Their initial demands are declaring the official election results invalid, releasing political prisoners, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s resignation as well as stopping violence. On August 10, 34-year Minsker Alyaksandr Taraykouski died during the crackdown on the protest spot at Pushkinskaya metro station. According to official version, he was killed when his own self-made bomb exploded, but video footage posted by journalists implies that he was shot down by special troops.