Hundreds Of Women March Against Lukashenka Despite Threats
By RFE/RL's Belarus Service October 31, 2020
Hundreds of women have marched through the streets of the Belarusian capital as protesters kept up their demand for the ouster of authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The march in Minsk on October 31 came a day after Lukashenka met with his new security chiefs and threatened "harsh measures" against protesters.
Lukashenka tightened his grip on the country by replacing top Interior Ministry officials and partially closing borders, moves seen as being aimed at ending weeks of demonstrations over a disputed presidential election on August 9 that gave him a sixth consecutive term in power.
On October 31, several hundred women marched in central Minsk chanting "Freedom" and "Fair Elections" as they carried red-and-white flags and banners, a symbol of the opposition that has been banned by the authorities.
Belarus has witnessed near daily protests since the vote that Lukashenka, in power since 1994, claims he won by a landslide.
Lukashenka has responded to demonstrations against the official election outcome with a crackdown that has seen more than 10,000 arrests and accusations of torture and beatings by security forces against peaceful demonstrators. Members of the media reporting on the protests have also been attacked.
Most of the country's opposition leaders have been arrested or forced to leave the country, including presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who has said the vote was rigged in Lukashenka's favor and considers herself the rightful winner. She left Belarus for Lithuania after the vote amid threats to her and her family.
Copyright (c) 2020. 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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