Despite numerous detentions, threats and dismissals, Belarusians are taking part in a peace and independence rally in Minsk and other cities and towns, as peaceful protest movement is not fading away after Lukashenko’s rigged election victory and subsequent police violence against protesters on 9 August and later.
Minsk. There is still a fence in Independence Square, security forces are standing along the perimeter. There is one paddy wagon near the Minsk Hotel. The traffic on Independence Avenue is not blocked.
Minsk. Water cannons, paddy wagons and other vehicles are moving towards Uruchye district.
Meanwhile, utility workers are removing posters and gifts for Alexander Lukashenko left by the demonstrators.
In Brest, the police told people through loudspeakers to disperse or they would have to use force and special means. People are dancing, singing and clapping hands in front of them.
Minsk. Presidential aide Nikolai Latyshenok talked to the protesters at the Palace of Independence for about 40 minutes. Recall that he went out to the people when only a few dozen people remained on the square and the rest had already left after it started raining.
The military equipment has also already left the area.
Some Grodno residents tried to walk to the old city center, but security forces blocked their way. People returned to the square near a bus station. There were about a hundred people left. At some point, a bus with riot police drove up to them and tried to detain a man carrying a flag.
The women rushed to defend the protester, some people stood in front of the minibus. Immediately a bus with security forces and another bus arrived here. A scuffle started and tear gas was sprayed. Several more people were detained, ohers were pushed back from the roadway.
This is how security forces defended themselves from the protesters at the Palace of Independence. Although, as the weather showed, a heavy rain turned out to be the biggest threat to all those gathered.
When asked about the whereabouts of Alexander Lukashenko, president’s press secretary Natalya Eismont has sent RIA Novosti a photo of him with a machine gun in front of the Independence Palace in Minsk. It is unclear when that picture was taken.
In Brest, the column of protesters are marching towards the blocked Lenin Square. People are chanting: “We are power here.”
Despite a heavy rain people keep standing on Victory Avenue near the Palace of Independence in Minsk.
Minsk. Presidential aide Nikolai Latyshenok came out to people who satyed in State Flag Square. He said he believes that the election was fair, everything was done according to the constitution.
“We have told you many times, let’s decide everything peacefully. We are creating a new constitution,” said the presidential aide.
“Why are you killing us? All you had to do was to hold fair election,” asked one of the protesters. “One person belives he is God,” another one added.
“The only one who recognized the election is Putin,” noted the protester. “Xi Jinping was the first one,” said Latyshenok in reponse.
Minsk. Some people are leaving the State Flag Square. Several hundred people remain here, the downpour stopped. Security forces are still on alert at the fence in two rows, there are several more law enforcement officers behind them.
There are still people on the roof of the Independence Palace, about seven people [presumably snipers].
The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that three people were detained in Minsk for attacking an official car. They were taken to the Leninsky district police department. According to the ministry, the car has a broken windshield and damaged side parts.
Minsk. It started raining on Independence Square. People are heard saying: “We are not made of sugar, we will not melt”, “Sasha, don’t cry.” Some people started to leave, they are chanting: “We will be back!”, “Every day and until the victory.”
Minsk. The atmosphere on Pobediteley Avenue near the Independence Palace.
5 pm – 5.30 pm
Peaceful rallies continue in Brest, Mogilev, Novopolotsk, Grodno and other cities.
At least 10 units of heavy military equipment, presumably BTR-80, were deployes to the Palace of Independence in Minsk.
Minsk. People at the Palace of Independence are chanting: “They don’t pay us”, “A tribunal is waiting for you!”, “We are the majority!”, “Come out and count us”, “We will give Lukashenko the best paddy wagon.”
Those gathered turned on phone flashlights and candles and shouted: “Sasha, blow out!” People piled toy paddy wagons and helicopters, slippers, balloons, posters and flowers on the ground. Earlier, a black coffin with flowers was left at the fence near the Palace of Independence.
Security forces continue to warn that the event is illegal and tell people to go home because of a chance of rain.
Minsk. According to Onliner, people with a protest banner “Athletes with the people” have approached the cordon. Among them are Alexandra Gerasimenya and basketball player Elena Levchenko. They are shouting: “We are playing fair”, “The people have won.”
In Gomel, protesters have taken to Pobedy Avenue. There are a lot of people, the column has stretched across the entire avenue.
Brest. Thousands of demonstrators are marching along Pionerskaya Street.
Tens of thousands of protesters at the Palace of Independence in Minsk came close to the security forces. According to the estimates of TUT.BY, many more people came here today than a week ago.
Minsk. Memebers of the Coordination Council on Power Transition in Belarus Maria Kolesnikova, Maxim Znak, Lilia Vlasova came to the Palace of Independence. Kolesnikova approached the cordon of the security forces, asking to call their leader or let them inside for negotiations, to no avail.
“We, Belarusians, have the right to walk around our city on Sundays, we do not understand why our roads are blocked, we want to ask why we cannot walk around the city,” Maria Kolesnikova explained.
The video footage shows heavy machinery (presumably, the BTR-80 amphibious armoured personnel carrier) have driven up to the cordon of riot police at the Palace of Independence in Minsk.
This is what Pobediteley Avenue in Minsk looks from above, feel the atmosphere:
Minsk. The column has stretched from the beginning of Pobediteley Avenue to the Independence Palace. At Minsk Hero City Obelisk the leader of Stary Olsa band Zmitser Sasnovsky is playing the pipe. People are dancing and singing.
Security forces at the Palace of Independence have raised their shields in a fighting stance. There are internal troops, riot police, military vehicles, including water cannons, and paddy wagons.
People are marching to the Palace of Independence chanting: “Sasha come out, we want to congratulate you.” Earlier the security forces and special vehicles cordoned off the approaches to the residence.
Meanwhile, piot police and military vehicles are leaving the area near GUM in the direction of Independence Square.
Minsk. People started to move en masse from Minsk Hero City Obelisk to the Palace of Independence. Those who have already reached the State Flag Square are chanting “We are here for your birthday!”
Tens of thousands of people in Minsk are walking towards Minsk Hero City Obelisk.
The moment thousands of protesters in Minsk stepped aside to let the ambulance pass.
Novopolotsk. The gathered people are chanting “Lukashenko is to a paddy wagon!”, “Happy birthday, now leave!”, “We believe, we can, we will overcome!”. It started to rain in the city, but the column continues to move through the city.
Minsk. There are a lot of people now near Minsk Hero City Obelisk. The tail of the column is still in the area of the Sports Palace.
Minsk. People who stood between GUM and the circus on Independence Avenue also moved towards Pobediteley Avenue.
There are already about 3,000 people gathered in Gomel. People are shouting “Shame!” to security forces who lined up near the regional executive committee.
Minsk. Some military vehicles is leaving the area near GUM, riot police is blocking Independence Avenue towards the square of the same name. A significant part of the protesters have moved to Minsk Hero City Obelisk.
People are chanting “This is our city!”, “As long as we are united, we are invincible, “It’s time to change bald tires!”,“Lukashenko, leave!”. There are many protesters standing between GUM and the circus on Independence Avenue.
About 500 people gathered on Lenin Square in Bobruisk. After police officers warned that the rally is illegal, people lined up in a column and walked down Sovetskaya Street, chanting “Lukashenko, leave!”
In Gomel, people gathered near the Gomel department store. The column marching along Sovetskaya Street headed towards the square. There is a fair and a concert of local artists on the square. People keep joinig the column. Now there are about 500 people in it.
Mogilev. Several hundred people with white-red-white flags are marching in a column through the city.
In Grodno, several thousand people gathered near the railway station, they walk around the station square, singing and chanting “This is our city”, “Lukashenko, leave”. The police warn that the event is illegal.
A pro-government car rally is taking place at the same place. All this is happening in the pouring rain, which began in the city about an hour ago.
Brest. A column of doctors joined the demonstrators on Sovetskaya Street. People are walking in the direction of Masherov Avenue.
Residents of Novopolotsk and Soligorsk also showed up at the rallies. It is reported that about 500 people gathered in Novopolotsk.
Minsk. Riot police detained several dozen men near GUM on Independence Avenue. Here, security forces lined up in a chain and blocked Independence Avenue. There are also military vehicles, including paddy wagons and water cannons.
In Brest, people with white-red-white flags gathered on Pushkinskaya Street near Lenin Square. Security forces blocked the square with turnstiles. The protesters are chanting: “Long live Belarus”, “We believe, we can, we will overcome!”.
Women’s solidarity march began in Vitebsk, men are also taking part in it. A column of about 200 people is moving through the city centre. People are chanting: “Happy birthday, Lukashenko, go away! Long live Belarus!”
Minsk. Despite the events at GUM, thousands of people with white-red-white flags are marching along Independence Avenue towards the city center.
Minsk. The column of protesters left the National Art Museum. Detentions began. Security forces selectively detain men, who do not resist. Rubezh coastal missile launchers, water cannons and paddy wagons are slowly driving towards the protest column, which stretches from McDonald’s to the circus.
The command “Clean up” sounded on the avenue. After that, the column of security forces approached the place where the journalists were standing and asked them to go behind the cordon. Several women and a disabled guy were also asked to move away.
Riot police is slowly walking towards Oktyabrskaya Square, where the second large column of demonstrators is standing. People are chanting “Long live Belarus!”
Minsk. Riot police officers are still standing in a chain at the National Art Museum. They do not allow people to enter Independence Avenue. Women approached the security officials chanting: “The police are with the people!”, “Let them in!”
People are gradually turning around shouting “Shame” and go down Lenin Street.
Minsk. The women are laying on the road on Independence Avenue.
Minsk. People were blocked from both sides by security forces near Lakomka shop on Independence Avenue. However, soon when other protesters marching from the direction of Oktyabrskaya Square joined them – the police were rounded up.
Water cannons and cars came to the KGB building to disperse people. The vehicles moved to the crowd. For some time, people were able to break through the cordon, but the security forces soon restored it. Now, in the GUM area, several thousand people are blocked.
Minsk. Near the National Bank, a chain of security forces blocked the passage to Oktyabrskaya Square. People are chanting “Let us go”, “Be with us” and try to persuade the security forces to let them through.
Minsk. Lenin Street near the National Art Museum was blocked by riot police, which prevented the column moving from the Minsk Concert Hall from entering Independence Avenue. People stand and don’t leave. Someone turned on “Peremen” song (“Changes” by V. Tsoi).
Minsk. A minibus stopped in front of the KGB building. People in civilian clothes tried to detain several men. The protesters tried to repulse the guys, they rocked the minibus shouting “Let go!” and “Provocation”.
All courtyards adjacent to the avenue have been blocked by security forces.
Minsk. Detentions of the participants of the march have begun, Naviny.by reports. Six paddy wagons arrived and several men were being detained near the hotel Minsk.
People have moved to the side of the Main Post Office, some of the demonstrators are standing near the Central cinema, shouting “Shame!” and “Lukashenko is to a paddy wagon!” The avenue near the Independence Square is closed in both directions.
Minsk. Four trucks and two paddy wagons from Pervomayskaya Street drove towards Independence Avenue. Traffic is being blocked on Lenin Street.
Preventive detentions began in Minsk. On Independence Avenue near the Chelyuskintsev Park, riot police ran out of the paddy wagon and took away a huge white-red-white flag. At least one person was detained.
Columns of people are moving along Independence Avenue in different places, heading to the center, to Independence Square. One of the columns is now passing through Yakub Kolas Square.
1.46 – 1.59 pm
Minsk, people are flocking from all over the city. Columns were spotted near the Frunzenskaya metro station, Victory Square and Freedom Square, Aranskaya street, Chelyuskintsev park.
Minsk. People with white-red-white flags marching from the Mikhalovo metro station to Grushevka station joined another column of protesters and together they went to the city center.
Meanwhile, over $1,860,000 have been collected for those who suffered and lost their jobs due to political repression exceeded More than 32 thousand people made donations. More than $ 2.8 million have already been collected for those who have suffered from violence by the security forces in Belarus.
Minsk. Two police vehicles drove up to a column of protesting, and men in black clothes tried to split it into two parts. Then they suddenly got back into the vehicles and drove away.
Minsk. A column of people with white-red-white flags is marching along Kalvariyskay Streets towards the Frunzenskaya metro station.
Latvia. Latvian cultural workers launched an online charity marathon from 12 pm to 5 pm in support of those who go to peaceful protests. Actors from Belarus, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria intend to join the actors of the Latvian theaters.
The square at the Minsk Hero City Obelisk is cordoned off by uniformed men standing behind metal fences. Today, unlike last Sunday, there is no barbed wire.
The column goes past Vaneev Square and the Motorvelo plant entrance in Minsk.
Workers of Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) and other protesters joined the column marching along Partizansky Prospekt. About a thousand people are chanting “Leave!”, “Leave!”
People with white-red-white flags are also gathering at the Pushkinskaya metro station. A column of peaceful protesters were spotted on Dzerzhinsky Avenue near a Mikhalovo metro station.
A column of factory workers and a support group with flags and songs is walking along Partizansky Avenue towards the center.
People are chanting “Long live Belarus!”. Passing cars are honking in support. There are about 300 people in the column.
Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone. The Russian president congratulated Lukashenko on his birthday.“The leaders expressed mutual determination to further strengthen the Russian-Belarusian alliance and expand mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas.”
Lukashenko and Putin agreed to meet “in the coming weeks” during Lukashenko’s visit to Moscow.
A column of people with white-red-white flags is walking from from Novaya Borovaya district towards the city center.
12 – 12.30 pm
Several hours ahead of the grand rally, Independence Square as well as other major squares and streets in Minsk have been cordoned off. Military and special vehicles, water cannons, paddy wagons have been brought to the city centre. Security forces are deployed to Minsk City Hero Obelisk.
Early in the morning, women rolled pumpkins to the Government House in Minsk. This is an old Belarusian custom, which means that the bride does not like the groom.
19 August saw the largest rally in the country’s history, when about 200,000 people took to the streets of Minsk in the March for Freedom to protest presidential election results and subsequent police violence against protesters. The regions did not lag behind, as the marches of solidarity were held in Vitebsk, Gomel, Mogilev, Grodno, Brest, Baranovichi, Slonim, Postavy, Volkovysk and others.
For a week after the historical demonstration, 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 Belarusian protest fading away?” The March For A New Belarus made it clear that Belarusians are not ready to give up and leave the streets so easily.
Recall that an extraordinary wave of peaceful protests has swept Belarus since the disputed presidential election on 9 August. Vast crowds of protesters flooded the streets of Minsk and other towns and cities across the country calling for Alexander Lukashenko to step down and hold those responsible for police violence and abuse against protesters to account.
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