For a week after the largest rally in the history of Belarus, Belarusians have been on an emotional rollercoaster. Glee, fear, happiness, apathy, pride, helplessness, hope and… then Sunday, 23 August came. This is probably the moment when people stopped asking themselves “Is a Belarusian protest fading away?”.
In Minsk, the day started with thin crowds, rain, the army threatening to restore order and police telling people through loudspeakers to disperse or face detention. At some point, everything changed – people started to come flooding the streets with with-red-white flags. And then more people came. And more. And more, until there was an absolute ocean of protesters everywhere.
The day kept on surprising us. First, a huge crowd, despite the blocked entrances and roads, gathered on Independence Square and managed to reach the intersection of Pobediteley and Masherov avenues. Secondly, some protesters moved on and reached the Palace of Independence, where Alexander Lukashenko was reportedly at that time.
Third, the president and his youngest son Nikolai Lukashenko appeared on the territory of the residence in bulletproof vests both carrying machine guns (without visible magazines). Fourthly, there were no provocations, as well as no arrests were reported during an anti-Lukashenko rally.