Belarus Protesters March In Residential Areas To Demand Lukashenka's Resignation
By RFE/RL's Belarus Service January 17, 2021
Belarusian protesters marched in parks and residential areas of several cities and towns across the country on January 17 as demonstrators continue to demand the resignation of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The protesters also are demanding that those responsible for violent crackdowns against demonstrators during the past five months be held accountable.
Daily demonstrations have been held across Belarus since election officials announced that their tally of the country's August 9 presidential vote showed Lukashenka winning a landslide victory. Those results are seen by many in Belarus and abroad as being rigged in favor of Lukashenka.
The United States and the European Union have refused to recognize Lukashenka's reelection as legitimate.
The independent BelaPAN news agency reported that protesters staged at least 30 marches and rallies on January 17, including in Minsk, Brest, Hrodna, and Homel.
Many of the protesters were carrying the opposition's red-and-white flag or banners.
In an effort to avoid arrest by Lukashenka's security forces, protesters have resorted to so-called "flash-mob" tactics in which they gather at locations announced on social media at the last minute.
The flash-mob protests are smaller and shorter protest marches, usually conducted outside of city centers rather than the kind of mass demonstrations that have drawn tens of thousands of people but have been an easy target for brutal crackdowns by security forces.
The United Nations says authorities have detained more than 30,000 protesters. There have also been credible reports of torture and ill-treatment, and several people have died.
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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