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US News Belarus: hundreds of arrests during a demonstration of women

01:40  20 september  2020
01:40  20 september  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  Bélarus : des centaines d'arrestations au cours d'une manifestation de femmes © Provided by Le Point

Belarusian riot forces arrested hundreds of people on Saturday during a women's march in Minsk against President Alexander Lukashenko .

About two thousand women participated in this parade, waving the white and red flag of the opposition. Police blocked the march and arrested hundreds of protesters, according to an reporter AFP .

Hooded riot police in black uniforms, as well as police in khaki uniforms and masked plainclothes police officers made the arrests. Hundreds of protesters were quickly dragged into police vehicles, with some women being carried by the police.

The human rights organization Viasna published online the names of 317 women arrested in Minsk.

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The police, for their part, did not provide the number of people arrested.

This demonstration was the latest in a series of actions by women in Belarus to demand the departure of Mr. Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, after his re-election deemed fraudulent last month.

"Courageous women"

Before the demonstration, the leader of the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who had to take refuge in Lithuania , praised the "courageous women of Belarus".

"They are demonstrating despite permanent threats and pressure," she said in a statement.

The police "brutally arrested in a massive manner beautiful and courageous women who were demonstrating legally and peacefully", she added.

The opposition Coordination Council set up by Tikhanovskaïa's allies called Saturday's arrests "a new phase in the escalation of violence against peaceful protesters".

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Opposition channel Nexta, which is headquartered in Poland , posted on Telegram a list of more than 1,000 names and ranks of police officers, claiming to have obtained this data from informants and would post more if the arrests continued.

One of the placards held up by the demonstrators proclaimed: "Our protest has a woman's face", a reference to the title of a work by Nobel laureate for literature Svetlana Aleksievich, who supported the cause of the opposition , "The war does not have a woman's face".

Among the women arrested was Nina Baguinskaya, 73, one of the best-known activists of the protest movement against Alexander Lukashenko. She was then released from a police station.

Women managed to escape and take refuge in a nail salon, the Tut.by news website reported.

Ambulances were also on site to take care of people who were injured or who felt ill at the time of the arrests.

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The opposition must organize new massive demonstrations in Belarus on Sunday.

Ms Tikhanovskaïa is due to meet in Brussels on Monday with the foreign ministers of the member states of the European Union and the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell . Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Saturday described the meeting as "flirting with a self-appointed representative of the Belarusian opposition".

The women's protests started in Belarus after those arrested during the protest movement against the election of Mr Lukashenko suffered extreme violence in detention. Protesters dressed in white began forming human chains and marching in Minsk and other towns for peaceful marches initially tolerated by police.

A week ago, police arrested dozens of participants in a women's protest.

19/09/2020 21:00:35 - Minsk (AFP) - © 2020 AFP

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