Amnesty International warned on Monday that the police force was unleashing appalling violence on peaceful protesters in Belarus. One protester is confirmed to have died and dozens more have been seriously injured.
Mass protests in Minsk and other Belarusian cities have been growing for months in the lead-up to national elections, with the situation escalating on Sunday night when the authorities announced “official exit poll results”, suggesting that the incumbent was leading with 80% of the votes.
The announcement contradicted the widely-expected outcomes and the results of informal exit polls which suggested a landslide victory for the opposition candidate Svaytlana Tsikhanouskaya. Thousands took to the streets, in cities and towns across Belarus.
“Post-electoral violence by police has become a regular feature of politics in Belarus, where all forms of peaceful dissent are brutally suppressed. Last night Amnesty International delegates witnessed first-hand the viciousness of the police response, which included indiscriminate use of force, including stun grenades, against a peaceful crowd, and arbitrary arrests of individuals who were far from any protest,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“One horrifying video shows a police van running over a protester at full speed on a wide road. This footage captures the blood-chilling ruthlessness of the Belarusian police’s actions last night, and shows why so many in Belarus are desperate for change.”