Sunday, 8 October, was the second consecutive day of protests in Minsk against a closer union with Russia. Several hundred Belarusians took to the streets to stand against deeper ties with Moscow.
The unauthorised rally was sparked by a Saturday meeting between Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. The presidents were meeting to discuss key issues in bilateral relations, including the prospects for deeper integration.
Worried by the potential deal, Belarusians held a rally in the city centre – they carried white-red-white flags, disapproving signs and chanted “No unions with imperial Russia”, “Long Live Belarus!” and “For independence”.
The protesters walked around the city and handed over a petition against Belarusian-Russian integration to the Russian Embassy. Police oversaw the demonstration but made no arrests. The action ended with patriotic songs and poems.
According to the unregistered human rights center Viasna, by the time the rally started, there were about 600 participants. Recall that on Saturday, 7 December, street protests with about a thousand people took place in Belarus’ capital.
In the morning, people formed a living chain lining up along praspiekt Niezaliežnasci and later proceeded to Kastryčnickaja Płošča and different city venues. No immediate deal between Belarus and Russia has been announced after Saturday’s talks, so far.
The next meeting between Lukashenko and Putin is scheduled for 20 December, Belarusian opposition politicians have already called on their supporters to go to the streets in a week and a half.