MINSK, Belarus — In a gift of could, security forces in Belarus on Saturday arrested a complete bunch of women taking part in a protest march in opposition to the re-election of the nation’s strongman, President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko.
Following a ruthless crackdown on the protests that adopted the presidential election in August, women have emerged as a result of the face of dissent in Belarus, a country of 9.5 million squeezed between Russia and the European Union. Sometimes holding flowers and sporting white shirts, Belarusian women have come to characterize the peaceful nature of protests and provide a stark distinction to the brutality of Mr. Lukashenko’s sturdy security gear.
“Ladies can do masses, they’re going to battle in opposition to a dictator,” acknowledged Irina Okay. Palyukovich, an economist, who took half inside the so-called Ladies’s March on Saturday. “Males cannot do that not on account of they’re weak, nonetheless they’re additional weak,” acknowledged Ms. Palyukovich, 35. “They’re being overwhelmed additional often.”
Ms. Palyukovich was actually certainly one of about 1,000 women who marched from the central market sq. inside the capital, Minsk, by means of the city.
Initially, the procession was largely unhindered by the police, with only a few officers filming the demonstration and various different undercover brokers following the march in vans. Then, a bunch of riot legislation enforcement officers sporting balaclavas briskly squeezed an enormous portion of protesters proper right into a entice in entrance of a shopping mall.
A verbal confrontation ensued with women shouting at legislation enforcement officers and chanting: “Solely a coward can beat a woman.” Just a few of the legislation enforcement officers, who did not set up themselves, responded by saying the protesters had been paid to return out by abroad governments, a regular theme put forward by Mr. Lukashenko and state-run data retailers in Belarus.
Many girls had been visibly terrified as they’d been confronted, blocked from all sides by heavyset, masked males. Not lower than one girl was taken away in an ambulance after feeling sick and falling on the underside. One after the opposite, legislation enforcement officers carried women to police vans.
Better than 300 women had been detained basic on Saturday, according to Viasna, a human rights group. By late night time, many had been launched from police precincts, the place officers had taken their photographs and fingerprints.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Mr. Lukashenko’s main rival inside the August election, who fled Belarus under duress, condemned the detentions, which she described as “lawlessness.”
In a pre-emptive countermove ahead of Saturday’s march, Mr. Lukashenko’s aides on Friday convened tons of of pro-government women at a dwell efficiency rally at a hockey stadium in Minsk.
Speaking on the rally, Mr. Lukashenko denied that the present presidential election was rigged and that the police had used energy in opposition to protesters. He accused E.U. members, most of all Poland and Lithuania, of fueling protests to create a pretext for military intervention in Belarus.
“They’ve many suggestions of their arsenal and we’re on the verge of a horrible catastrophe,” Mr. Lukashenko acknowledged, referring to his opponents.
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