Hundreds detained on Day 29 of protests
At least 200 protesters were detained yesterday, as tens of thousands marched in central Minsk to demand the resignation of President Lukashenka. Around fifty more were detained in other cities, including thirty in Brest.
Although most detentions were not violent, in some cases protesters were beaten with batons, reportedly by masked men in plain clothes, who are believed to be officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption. In one incident, they broke the glass door of a café in Minsk before detaining several protesters. Some people jumped into the Svislač river to avoid arrest. They were picked by lifeguards, who were later reportedly detained by the police.
Ahead of the demonstration in Minsk, extensive riot police and military personnel were pulled in to guard the Presidential Palace and several other sites. Water cannons and armored vehicles were also deployed.
Some of the detainees, mostly women, were released during the night, while others are expected to face administrative charges of “illegal protesting.” These include several journalists, two members of the Coordination Council and Iryna Sukhiy, leader of the Ecohome NGO.
According to the authorities, 633 protesters were detained across Belarus. 363 of them were taken into custody.