Belarus blocks information web sites amid giant protests

Minsk, August 22

Authorities in Belarus have blocked an array of reports media web sites reporting on the nation shaken by two weeks of protests towards authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

The Belarusian Association of Journalists stated Saturday that greater than 20 websites had been blocked, together with these of US-funded Radio Liberty and Belsat, a Polish-funded satellite tv for pc TV channel specializing in Belarus.

On Friday, the state publishing home stopped printing prime impartial newspapers the Narodnaya Volya and Komsomolskaya Pravda, citing tools malfunction.

Protests unprecedented in Belarus for his or her dimension and period broke out after the August 9 presidential election during which official outcomes handed Lukashenko a sixth time period in workplace.

Protesters allege the outcomes have been manipulated and are calling for Lukashenko to resign.

Police responded harshly within the first days of the protests, arresting some 7,000 individuals, beating a lot of them.

But the protests have widened their scope, with strikes known as at among the nation’s principal factories.

In an infinite present of defiance, an estimated 200,000 protesters rallied final Sunday within the capital, Minsk.

Lukashenko’s principal election challenger, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, known as for one more march this Sunday.

“We are closer than ever to our dream,” she stated in a video message from Lithuania, the place she took refuge after the election.

Public reveals of assist for Lukashenko, who has dominated Belarus since 1994, have been comparatively modest.

A rally in Minsk final Sunday attracted a few quarter as many individuals because the protest march.

On Saturday, solely about 25 individuals confirmed up for a bicycle journey meant to indicate assist for the president.

Lukashenko in flip alleges that the protests are impressed by unnamed Western forces and that NATO is deploying forces close to Belarus’ western border. The alliance firmly denies that declare.

On Saturday, Lukashenko renewed the allegation throughout a go to to a army train within the Grodno area, close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania.

“You see that they are already dragging an ‘alternative president’ here,” he stated, referring to Tsikhanouskaya. “Military assist is eviden—the motion of NATO troops to the borders.

Authorities on Friday threatened demonstrators with legal fees in a bid to cease the protests.

Investigators additionally summoned a number of opposition activists for questioning as a part of a legal probe right into a council they created with the aim of coordinating a transition of energy for the previous Soviet republic of 9.5 million. — AP


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