Mass protests have been spreading across Belarus as the public’s disapproval against President Alexander Lukashenko’s reelection grows.
People have been denouncing Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule and his sixth reelection bid for the next presidential elections.
Lukashenko has been the head of the country since 1994, and is now running for a sixth term for the presidential election on August 9th.
Belarusia, under Lukashenko’s leadership is the only country in Europe that supports death penalty.
According to Amnesty International, at least three men have been executed in secrecy during his term.
The President is widely criticized by international and local observers because of his failure to uphold democratic standards.
Suppressing dissent, and detaining activists opposing him have been notable examples of this.
Furthermore, the country’s secret police, the KGB has been on top of detaining people disagreeing with the President.
On Friday, thousands of demonstrators marched on the streets to protest the series of arrests against Lukashenko’s popular rivals.
Two of Lukashenko’s rival are under the custody of KGB, as reported in a CNN report.
One is YouTuber Sergei Tikhanovskiy, and Victor Babaryko, former chairman of commercial bank, Belgazprombank.
After news of the arrests spread, protesters went out and started forming “human chains of solidarity”.
In fact, some chains even stretched to several kilometers, said the organizers and local media.
According to an NGO based in Belarus, around 120 people were arrested after the protests.
Lukashenko accused his candidates of having ties with Russia, to which Russia, the Kremlin and Babaryko denied.
“[Lukashenko] is doing it because of the roadmap on deep integration with Russia,” Babaryko told the news outlet, RBC. The roadmap had sparked outrage from the public. Babaryko added, that hints of doing something that benefits Russia “causes [negative reaction” within the society.
“The Kremlin does not have candidates in Belarusian elections,” clarified Dmitry Peskov, presidential spokesperson of Russia.
Protests are expanding, in San Diego, more people are joining them. Click here to read more.