At least 100,000 rallied in Minsk on Sunday, 6 September, to demand the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko, as Belarus has entered the fourth week of daily protests since the presidential election on 9 August widely seen as rigged, and described by the EU and the U.S. as “neither free nor fair”.
Please, scroll down to see the chronology of the March of Unity in Minsk and other cities and towns across the country.
Minsk. Police with balaclavas and masks over their faces arrived in Novaya Borovaya district.
Minsk. Below is another 16 seconds long time-lapse video filmed at the Palace of Independence. Despite the rain, a continuous stream of people kept coming to the cordon for about 48 minutes.
Gomel. During the Gomel – Krumkachi match, the players once again showed solidarity with the protesters. After the match kicked off, they got up and started clapping their hands.
The match was held without spectators “at the initiative of the police”, despite the promises of the head of the Football Federation of Belarus. As a result, Krumkachy beat the hosts with a score of 0:2.
The de-registered Vesna human rights center reports about 174 detainees in Minsk alone. There were detentions in other cities too.
Brest. The demonstrators sang Kupalinka folk song in front of the riot police and walked towards Sovetskaya Street. People are gradually leaving.
Minsk. Visitors of the O’Petit coffee shop on Nemiga, where the unidentified people in masks broke the doors with batons, are outraged.
“We came to have some coffee, we were eating muffins, people began to run in the cafe, the employees closed the door. People in civilian clothes first walked past the cafe, and then came purposefully, smashed the window, put the guys against the wall, took our friend, took an umbrella with a white and red ribbon,” said Margarita.
Minsk. A column of special equipment and water cannons are leaving Independence Square.
Brest. A column of protesters approached the cordon on Lenin Square. People are shouting “Tribunal”. Police officers are standing behind the fence, a water cannon also drove up there.
Minsk. Another video of brutal detentions in a coffee shop on Pobeditely Avenue. People tried to fight off the men. In response, unidentified people in masks and batons began to beat them, even those lying on the ground.
The video shows the moment one of the unidetified men pushes a girl standing on a bench and she falls into the bushes.
Vitebsk. The protest march lasted for four hours. During this time, the security forces and protesters clashed several times. The security forces used batons and tear gas. The region’s police state that more than 10 people were detained.
“A criminal case has been initiated on the fact of violence against an internal affairs officer: an unknown man struck a police officer in the head,” the police department reports.
Among the detainees is Belsat’s correspondent Dmitry Kazakevich. He was detained after the protest action ended, when he was walking home. The journalist is currently in a pre-trial detention centre.
Minsk. An ambulance drove up to the cafe on Nemiga, the woman took the guy out of the cafe. She said that the guy wanted to buy shoes, they ran up to him and began to beat him with batons.
“He had no flag, nothing. These were people in plain clothes, they were wearing baseball caps, masks, carried batons, they hit him on the back. Most likely, the dislocation of the hand, the fingers are now somehow incorrectly located,” said the girl.
Minsk. About 15 unidentified peiople in caps, masks and with batons broke into the O’Petit coffee shop at the very beginning of Pobediteley Avenue. The demonstrators took refuge there. Unidentified persons smashed glass doors with batons and broke inside.
They dragged out several people. The labeled police officers on the site did not react.
Minsk. At the beginning of Pobediteley Avenue unidentified people in masks and with batons attacked people and began to beat them, even those lying on the ground. The labeled police officers did not react.
Minsk. Detentions continue in the upper town and different parts of the city. People are being dragged out of cafes and shops.
Minsk. Mass detentions in Victory Park. It seems that someone jumped into the water and swam to a catamaran to avoid detention.
Minsk. Detentions continue throughout the city center. A video footage from Svobody Square:
Minsk. People are walking along Pobediteley Avenue towards Lenin Street.
Minsk. People with shields and helmets, who blocked Lenin Street, rushed forward at the demonstrators. As TUT.BY journalist reports, it was quite unexpected, since the protesters did not provoke the security forces in any way.
Minsk. Unidentified people in uniform and in black are walking along the avenue after people headed to Minsk Hero City Obelisk. Some people are driven to Victory Park, minibuses and paddy wagons drove there. Two women stayed there and asked the security forces to release those detained
Minsk. The protesters walking down Pobediteley Avenue towards Minsk Hero City Obelisk are chanting: “We’ll be back.” The women collect the torn off banners and carry them to the grass. The security forces ran from behind the fence when about two dozen people left, and detained several men.
The security forces with pneumatic guns and shields have come out from behind the fence of the Palace of Independence. They are tearing down the banners that people hung on the fence. People are screaming, one person has been dragged behind the fence.
The security forces sprayed gas again. Some of the demonstrators fled, others retreated a short distance.
Minsk. Tens of thousands of demonstrators walking from the side of Minsk Hero City Obelisk came close to the security forces with shields at Lenin Street near the Europe hotel.
Minsk. The security forces sprayed tear gas near the Palace of Independence. The protesters moved away from them for a while, but soon they came up again, chanting: “Fascists”.
Minsk. People keep standing near the Palace of Independence.
Minsk. The scale of today’s march: a 20-second time-lapse video shows a column moving for an hour and a half along Pobediteley Avenue.
Minsk. While tens of thousands of people are standing in the rain near the cordon on Pobediteley Avenue, the Emergency Situations Ministry’s car with a crane continues to drive around the city and remove flags. But this time a man in the cradle took off the flag and gave it to locals.
Minsk. The atmosphere on Pobediteley Avenue in front of the security forces cordon.
In Zhodino, a large column with white-red-white flags are marching around the city.
Mogilev. Glory Square was cordoned off, two police vehicles arrived. People gathered in the square near the drama theater. Reinforcements from the security forces arrived at Glory Square. The demonstrators left the spot.
Gomel. The protesters approached the stadium. Today the Krumkachy football club plays here with the Gomel football club. The game will take place without spectators.
Minsk. Demonstrators lined up at the fence near the Palace of Independence and shouted to riot police: “Beating people is not work!”, “Where are our voices?”, “We pay you, we are in power here.” At the same time, people call on Lukashenko to go out and count the protesters.
Minsk. A view of above on Pobediteley Avenue before the rain started.
Minsk. People at the Palace of Independence are chanting: “Let us in to warm up!”, “Karaev [Belarus Interior Minister], we will bring you on trial,” “Nobody pays us.” At the same time, they address the security forces: “He will run away, but he will leave you”, “Take off the mask”.
Some people hid from the rain under trees, at bus stops.
Vitebsk. During the solidarity march, there was a second skirmish with the police on Pravdy street. The police were beating several men with batons, the protesters rushed to their aid. They managed to defend the men and pushed the police to the sidewalk.
Vitebsk residents were very emotional, they were shouting at the security forces: “Shame”, “This is our city!”
Minsk. The weather broke, the protesters opened their umbrellas and do not leave.
Gomel. The column reached Victory Avenue. The protesters are chanting: “Sasha, have some tea, Putin is treating.” More and more people are joing the protest.
Brest. Several thousand Brest residents continue marching through the city. Music is playing, people are chanting: “This is our city”, “Brest, come out”. According to an eyewitness, people in black uniform cut off the head of the column and started detaining people. About 20 people were captured, dragged into paddy wagons and taken to the Leninsky district police station.
Grodno. People standing in the city center moved towards the Old Bridge. They blocked traffic on the bridge, occupied one lane and are walking along it.
Minsk. Thousands of protesters are marching to Minsk Hero City Obelisk.
Gomel. Several thousand people with white-red-white flags and one huge one marched along Lenin Avenue. Now the column has already reached the station square.
Minsk. Maria Kolesnikova, the opposition leader and member of the Coordination Council on Power Transition in Belarus, joined a column of protesters marching along Pobediteley Avenue.
Vitebsk. On Lenin Street, near the Bulbyanaya cafe, there was a clash between the police and the protesters. People wanted to move forward, but the security forces blocked their way. During the clash, the police beat people with batons, several were detained. Protesters decided to cross to the opposite side of the street, more security forces were waiting for them there. The protesters managed to break through the chain and move on.
Minsk. This is what Pobediteley Avenue looks like right now.
Baranovichi. TUT.BY reader who sent this video wrote: “They surrounded us, people are fighting off people from riot police. They pulled me, a girl, by my hair to detain a man. We did it. “
Unlike previous actions, many protesters do not linger at the the Hero City Obelisk, they go straight to the Palace of Independence.
In Brest, near the Central Department Store, unknown people dressed all in black with balaclavas over their faces detained protesters.
Several thousand people with white-red-white flags are marching along Mogilev.
In another video of Mogilev, protesters pushed a man in a cap and mask out of a column, who tried to film the protesters as closely as possible.
Minsk. To the sound of drums, a united column of residents of Pushkinskaya-Vesnyanka moved across Melnikayte Street to Pobediteley Avenue. Chanting “Long live Belarus!” people moved to Pobediteley Avenue joining those marching towards Minsk Hero City Obelisk.
Minsk. This is how tens of thousands of people look from above, walking towards Minsk Hero City Obelisk. A part of column has turned to the Palace of Independence.
Several hundred people with white-red-white flags took to the streets in Kobrin.
In Grodno, people put up a fence between themselves OMON [riot police] and police officers and formed a human chain.
They are chanting “This is our city”. Then they began to surround the security forces. There are families with children. They are chant “Go away”, “Long live Belarus”, “Without Lukashenko”. About 500 people have gathered there and people are still coming. Passing cars are honking in support.
Crossroads of Independence Avenue and Lenin Street. Water cannons, barriers and tens of thousands of people.
Minsk. A video was filmed on Chebotarev Street. Earlier there, about a hundred people in helmets surrounded the protesters. Several ambulances have now arrived. At least one person was put into an ambukance on a stretcher.
Tens of thousands of people are moving towards Minsk Hero City Obelisk. There are even more people left at the cordon near GUM [department store] and even more are coming from the side of Oktyabrskaya Square.
Minsk. A column marching from Grushevka metro station is approaching Bogushevich Square.
Minsk. A large column of protesters is moving along Logoiski tract towards the center.
People are marching from the Chelyuskintsev park towards the center.
Minsk. A column of several thousand people is moving along Dzerzhinsky Avenue towards the city center.
Minsk. There are cordones of the security forces at Independence, Oktyabrskaya and Vicory Squares.
Minsk. According to the TUT.BY journalist, up to 1,000 people are marching from Grushevka metro station towards the center.
Minsk. The security forces with shields and special equipment are spotted along Independence Avenue near the National Bank and GUM [department store], as well as on Lenin Street. Metro stations in the city centre are closed.
The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs calls on Minskers and guests of the city not to participate in unsanctioned mass events.
“To ensure security, the number of squads and servicemen has been increased. Additionally, the special equipment of the police and internal troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was deployed. The city’s avenues will be blocked during the day,” the statement reads.
10.30 – 11.10 am
Minsk. Armoured personnel carriers, water cannon vehicles and cars with barbed wire are driving into the centre of Minsk, some heading for Independence Square. Both Independence and Oktyabraskaya Squares have been cordoned.
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.