9.18 am A collective council of leaders of five Belarusian confessions (Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims) might act as a mediator in the dialogue between the Coordinating Council and current authorities in Belarus, says political observer Artem Shraibman in an analytical article on the political crisis in Belarus on tut.by.
10.00 am Monday has started with queues at currency exchange points in Minsk. People came long before the opening, but they cannot buy foreign currency, the cashiers say that there is no foreign currency.
10.30 am One of the admitting physicians from Brest shared his memories about the shift on August 10th. “Our clinic resembled a military hospital that night. During the day, about 100 people were brought to the hospital, twelve of them were admitted to the surgery department – most of them with gunshot wounds.
We saw two types of bullets in the wounded: plastic and rubber ones. The nature of the injuries, such as “torn out” pieces of flesh the size of a fist indicates that the shots had been fired point-blank. A person was hit, fell down, and got another, “control”, shot. The victims were between 17 and 52 years old. They all were sober.
10.30 am In Zhabinka (administrative center of Brest region), people bid a final farewell to Gennady Shutov, who died after the protests on 11th August. The death occurred as a result of a gunshot wound.11.00The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus reports that around 20 thousand people took to the streets during yesterday’s march in Minsk; independent media talk about 200 thousand protesters.
11.10 am Lukashenko said that those who do not support the state ideology should not teach at schools. And he ordered to fire everyone who doesn’t agree with him.
11.30 am The Defense Ministry reported a special operation where they had used a military helicopter to stop balloons with “anti-state symbols” on the border of Lithuania and Belarus.
Lithuanian Foreign Ministry issued a note of protest against the violation of the state border of Lithuania to the Ambassador of Belarus in Vilnius.
11.45 am Members of the Coordinating Council Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky were detained by the riot police at the entrance to the Minsk Tractor Works. The official reason for their detention is an unauthorized mass event and violation of mass order. A few minutes before the arrival of the riot police, Kovalkova and Dylevsky came to support the workers on strike.
12:00 pm One more member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, attorney Lilia Vlasova, has been summoned for questioning.
12:05 pm Lithuania handed Belarus a note of protest over violation of the country’s airspace, the press service of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry reported.
12:10 pm According to the official Telegram channel of Lukashenko’s press service, Dmitry Pinevich has been appointed acting Minister of Health of Belarus. He was previously the First Deputy Minister of Health.
12:20 pm The National Bank of Belarus will stop supporting banks at a fixed overnight refinancing rate. This could mean that banks will soon have even less money to supply people who wish to make withdrawals. Even now, the funds have to be ordered five days in advance.
12:40 pm People are bringing flowers to the memorial for Alexander Taraikovsky – the first victim killed by the security forces.
12:42 pm A new Telegram channel has been launched to support people left without work because of their principles and convictions. On the channel, people can find all kinds of support like temporary part-time jobs, new full-time jobs, as well as the general feeling of support. The organizers are aiming to spread the word about the channel among both people in need of help, and those who can provide it.
12:50 pm The co-chairman of the Belaruskali strike committee, Anatoly Bokan, has been detained.
12:55 pm According to a message from Belarus Hockey, Belarus is about to lose the right to host the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championships. Prime Minister of Latvia, Arturs Kariņš, has announced his intention to find an “alternative” partner to host the championships since Belarus is going through a serious political crisis.
1:05 pm The press conference of the Coordination council has begun.
1:08 pm By end of trading today, the official exchange rate of the dollar in Belarus has risen by 1.36%, the Euro by 1.24%, the Russian ruble by 1.02%.
1:14 pm The security service of the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant has detained the chairman of the plant’s strike committee, Alexander Lavrinovich.
1:15 pm Members of the Coordination Council, Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky, detained earlier today at the Minsk Tractor Works, have been accused of an administrative offense – “illegal organization of a strike”, said member of the Council, Lilia Vlasovat.
1:17 pm The Coordination Council called the actions of the Belarusian authorities illegal and accused them of trying to intimidate members of the Council.
Maria Kolesnikova at the press conference of the Coordination Council:
“It is very strange when the person in charge of the state gets to run around the center of Minsk wearing strange clothes and holding strange weapons. There have been so many statements on how we could hear weapons rattling on the border with Belarus – yesterday we saw with our own eyes how one man is rattling weapons in the center of Minsk.”
1:20 pm Maria Kolesnikova demanded a legal investigation into the provision of a minor with a weapon, i.e. 15-year-old Nikolai Lukashenko, who was seen carrying a machine gun at the Palace of Independence yesterday.
1:22 pm Pavel Latushko: “The Coordination Council has never considered, has never approved and is not going to approve any documents saying that we are not interested in cooperation with the Russian Federation. Partners from countries to both the west and east of Belarus acknowledge the existence of the Coordination Council ”.
1:25 pm The Coordination Council has called on citizens to launch procedures to recall deputies at all levels in compliance with procedures established by current legislation. This is a legal device whereby elected representatives can be removed.
According to a member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council, attorney Maksim Znak, the authorities will not be able to deny the people in this regard.
1:28 pm Latushko: “In no way do we aim to change the constitutional system or seize some kind of power. We, and you can specifically quote me on this, are only an instrument to establish and develop a dialogue.”
1:30 pm Kolesnikova: “The authorities are very afraid of their people and the opinion of the majority. Sooner or later they will have to come to terms with reality and engage in a dialogue with the people.”
1:31 pm The Coordination Council already includes over 600 people representing various layers of Belarusian society.
1:35 pm The Belaruskali strike committee has issued an ultimatum: if the detained Anatoly Bokan hasn’t been released from the district police department by 3 PM, all employees of the enterprise will gather by its building demanding his release.
1:40 pm A rally in memory of the deceased protesters in Belarus is being held near the Pushkinskaya metro station. Despite the rain, people in black clothes are sitting on the grass.
The rally is named “Belarusian Paintings – Summer 2020″:
“We compare riot police to artists, their ‘paintings’ are the bruises they’ve left on people’s bodies. Our message is that we want to paint landscapes, and you paint with clubs on our bodies.”, explains the author of the performance piece, Ekaterina.
1:41 pm The current location of Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky, detained this morning, is still unknown. They may be at the Sovetskiy district police department, reported Belsat.
1:45 pm Maria Kolesnikova mentioned that Nobel prize-winning writer Svetlana Aleksievich is a fully-fledged member of the Coordination Council, but as of now she cannot take part in the Council’s meetings for reasons of health.
1:47 pm Radio Liberty: In the evening of August 23rd, one of the last detainees was released from the detention ward in Akrescina. Russian citizen Mikhail Dorozhkin had been detained in the first days of protests. His family and the consular agency hadn’t been able to find him for 10 days.
1:55 pm A strike is developing at the Faculty of Law of the Belarusian State University. “People are going to the Dean to explain that since the law is dead, there is no need to study,” reported Nasha Niva .
2:05 pm Many independent media sites have been blocked in Belarus.
2:07 pm Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for Vladimir Putin, commented on the situation in Belarus and noted that there had been no provocations from the protesters in the cities of Belarus, and the country’s law enforcement agencies had correctly performed their duties. Nevertheless, Peskov refused to comment on the appearance of Lukashenko with a gun.
2:10 pm Today, Alexander Papkov – an activist and electioneering agent of the presidential candidate Andrei Dmitriev, came to Lenin Square to launch a one-man protest. Papkov, who held two flags (white-red-white and red-and-green), and posters saying “I am for change!” and “Freedom for political prisoners”, was detained.
2:13 pm An administrative suit has been commenced against the chairman of the strike committee of the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, Alexander Lavrinovich, who was detained earlier.
2:21 pm Four employees of the Belarusian State Philharmonic Society were summoned to the police department as witnesses to a case, as they had been seen at a peaceful rally near the Philharmonic Hall. They said that initially no reason for the summons was indicated and that the police subsequently wrote it on the form by hand.
2:33 pm Alexander Lukashenko believes that “argy-bargy on the streets” negatively affects the corona virus situation in the country.
2:41 pm Member of the Coordination Council, Pavel Latushko, wants to meet and talk with the Russian Ambassador in Minsk, Dmitry Mezentsev. Latushko has already sent a request for a meeting with the diplomat, but has not yet received an answer.
2:47 pm Anatoly Bokun, co-chairman of the Belaruskali strike committee, detained at 11:30 in Soligorsk, will be tried immediately at 2:30. It will be a closed process, according to company employees.
2:50 pm Radio Liberty reports that on Tuesday, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya will address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament by video call, at a special meeting dedicated to Belarus. The meeting will also be attended by the Deputy Foreign Minister of the European Union, Helga Schmid.
It is expected that following the meeting of the committee, the European Parliament will prepare a resolution on Belarus, which will be voted on at a plenary session in September.
2:55 pm Maria Kolesnikova has come to support striking workers at Minsk Automobile Plant.
2:58 pm The Ministry of Defense of Belarus has rejected the statements of Vilnius claiming the violation of the state border of Lithuania by a Belarusian helicopter:
“We regard the actions of our pilots as absolutely consistent with international legislation. Our pilots operated in the airspace of our state – this is recorded by objective data. There was no violation of the state border of the Republic of Lithuania”.
3:11 pm The People’s Memorial in Pushkinskaya Street in Minsk has again been demolished. The Memorial commemorates the dead, missing and tortured during recent events in Belarus.
3:18 pm The Presidential candidate, Andrei Dmitriev, has filed a complaint to the Supreme Court of Belarus about the “results” of the presidential elections, as issued by the Central Election Committee (CEC). Dmitriev is the third candidate for president who has appealed these “results”.
3:22 pm Tut.by has released video evidence of election committee member Svetlana Shunyakova being forced to sign a falsified protocol.
3:30 pm Onliner.by posted the testimony of another torture victim from Akrescina detention center in Minsk.The girl recounts an exceptional level of psychological and physical abuse inflicted by the police. The women were called “sluts”, 36 people were held in four-person cells, and they were deprived of water, medications and basic necessities.“They recklessly dragged down male detainees to our door and walls and cruelly beat them, shouting and taunting us: “Listen, we are beating up your “defenders”.
3:34 pm Relatives of the deceased demonstrator, Nikita Krivitsky, have been denied access to his body and are simply being told he commited suicide. Nikita went missing on August 12, and was found dead on August 22.“They say: take this bag and bury it!”, Nikita’s mother, Angelika Kohno, told “Euroradio”.
3:37 pm 840 residents of Gomel have signed a petition to the district police department to institute criminal proceedings against the militia under article 128 of the Criminal Code (crimes against the peace and security of mankind).
3:44 pm “In the Kremlin, it was stated by Putin’s Press secretary, Peskov, that ‘Belarusian protests were peaceful in nature’ and he also indicated that a threat of force against Lukashenko does not exist either from outside the country or within. Thus, any use of force by him in the existing situation is illegal”, said Petr Kusnetsov, the founder of “Silnye Novosty” (‘Strong News’) and Mogilev Online.
3:50 pm Inna Borisenko, a teacher, was convicted in Gomel. She had earlier been detained by her house while taking out the garbage. Inna refused to plead guilty and got a fine of 702 BLR (276 USD) which has to be paid within forty days.
3:55 pmPavel Latushko has been summoned to the Investigative Committee as a witness to the criminal case against the Coordination Council.
4:00 pm Two militia officers are trying to disperse the Solidarity Chain at the People’s Memorial near Pushkinskaya metro station. Two more plain-clothes officers are filming everyone present. However, the number of flowers and demonstrators continues to increase.
4:05 pm Belvpo.com (a pro-Lukashenko website) posted a video of the interception of “another aerial provocation from the direction of Lithuania”. The provocation was a bundle of balloons with red and white fabric attached to them. Belvpo’s correspondent drew the conclusion that “the provocation was prepared at the highest level of Baltic state authorities”.
4:18 pm The Lithuanian Ambassador to Belarus has been handed a protest note regarding the incident with the balloons at the border: “On August 23, an aerial object was reportedly launched from Lithuanian territory, which subsequently violated the state border of Belarus, and penetrated 3 km onto the territory of our country. The Belarusian authorities consider this fact as a planned provocation”.
4:20 pmThe gymnasium #43 in Minsk has cancelled the regular parents’ meeting at the beginning of the school year due to an emotionally charged atmosphere and outrage expressed by parents over the falsified presidential elections. Some parents are demanding the dismissal of the teachers who signed false protocols.
4:26 pm Andrei Ravkov, The Secretary of the Security Council, posted a message on Facebook to those Belarusians who support solidarity movements abroad. He said they should leave Belarus and “vacate every job here and your kids’ daycare spots, reducing the burden on teachers at schools, the number of college applications, and doctors’ visits”.
4:39 pm Lukashenko and Putin spoke by phone and “came to an agreement that Belarusians will voluntarily participate in the third stage of COVID-19 vaccine trials, produced by the Russian Federation. Belarus will become the first country to receive this vaccine as well. (Official Telegram channel of Lukashenko’s press-service “Pul-Pervogo”).
4:42 pm Tut.by correspondents, in response to the Ministry of Internal Affairs Telegram channel’s claim that the number of participants in Sunday’s protests numbered perhaps 20,000, analyzed photos and videos from the air. As a result they concluded that about 177,000 attendees were at the rally.
4:43 pm Olga Kovalkova, the recently arrested Member of the Coordination Council Praesidium, is in the Partizansky district police department. It is not yet known in which court Kovalkova’s case will be heard. This information was posted on her official Facebook page, citing a lawyer.
4:45 pm Minsk Clinical Emergency Hospital employees join the Solidarity Chain.
4:50 pm The signing of a number of contracts between the Belarusian Armed Forces and Russian defence enterprises for the supply, repair and maintenance of military products was announced by the Ministry of Defence via its Telegram channel. Battalion-level BTR-82A kits and Mi-35M helicopters will also be supplied to Belarus.
4:56 pm The trial of the BelarusKali strike committee co-chairman Anatoly Bokun was postponed until 4:30 pm. He was detained at about 11:30 am today.
4:59 pm The Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation proposed to limit state loans for Belarus, Venezuela and Cuba.
5:00 pm Lukashenko made another phone call to Putin to discuss the internal and external situation, in particular in the West.
5:05 pm Evgeniy Merkis, the journalist detained on Friday in Gomel, was sentenced to 5 days of arrest. He spent the weekend in a detention center. He was charged with “violation of the rules of holding a mass event”- apparently by being actively involved in pickets.
5:06 pm Musicians from ten different countries have released an album in support of Belarusians who have suffered during the suppression of protests against Lukashenko. Its goal is “to show solidarity with the brave Belarusians and raise funds for victims of repression”. The funds from album sales will be donated to Belarus Solidarity Foundation, which provides assistance to people suffering during the protests.
5:15 pm Andrei Ravkov, The Secretary of the Security Council, made another post on Facebook, in which he harshly criticized the calls for strikes. He stressed that the strikes will result in hospital closures, the growth of utilities charges, the reduction of police headcount, and as a result, unemployed, hungry, angry adolescents will roam the streets.“And what if every single person goes on strike – will we teach each other, heal, protect, and then eat, or more likely, will we immediately be taken prisoner? Under the known flags and with the white flowers”, he ranted.
5:27 pm More than 400 people have applied to the Solidarity Fund for help. Eight of them have already received 1,500 Euros each. Anyone dismissed for political reasons can apply to this fund for financial assistance. In total, the fund has collected over 1.7 million dollars, donated by Belarusians.
5:37 pm The Gomel police initiated criminal proceedings against the 23- year-old local, who replaced the state flag with a white-red-white flag. The case was initiated under the “desecration of state symbols”, as reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
5:59 pm Igor Leschenya was dismissed from his post as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Slovak Republic, BelTa reports. Leschenya was the first Belarusian diplomat to support protests against the falsification of presidential elections.
6:20 pm Widely known author and Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich has been called in for questioning by the State Investigative Committee.Despite the fact that health concerns prevented Ms Alexievich from attending any Coordination Council meetings or press conferences, she intends to keep the appointment. Last week, current authorities instigated criminal proceedings against the National Coordination Council. Some of its members have already been questioned.Furthermore, two members have been arrested: Olga Kovalkova, ex-presidential candidate Sviatlana Tshikhanovskaya’s trustee, and Sergey Dylevski, activist and member of the Minsk Tractor Works strike committee. Their whereabouts, as well as the charges brought against them, are currently unknown.Not a single criminal investigation has been launched with regard to factual accounts of beatings, torture and a number of violent deaths which occurred during violent suppression of the protests.
6:30 pm Radio Svoboda reports that Mikhail Dorozhkin, one of the few Russian citizens still remaining in Belarusian jails, was released on the night of August 23rd. His family and the consulate had spent ten days looking for him.Mikhail claims that all this time the authorities “were hiding him from the Russian consulate”.
6:40 pm Anatoly Bokun, co-chairman of the Belaruskalii strike committee, appeared before the court this morning and was fined. He was then released.
6:50 pm Viacheslav Kazachenok and Elena Kopaneva, both Foreign Affairs Ministry employees who participated in an opposition rally a week ago, have lost their jobs.Vladimir Mackey, head of the Ministry, hinted to his employees before the rally that those who do not agree with official policies should hand in their resignations.
7:00 pm Yulia Slivko, chairperson of the Hrodno building companies strike committee, has revealed that she’s started receiving anonymous threats by phone and on social media. In particular, the callers threatened her son.
7:05 pm About a thousand people have gathered in Independence Square in Minsk. Riot police did not allow people to set up equipment in order to deliver speeches in an open mic format.Shortly after, the police started detaining protesters. A spokesperson for Minsk police was not willing to clarify the grounds for the arrests.
7:45 pm Riot police approached a group of people waving the red and white national flag, which has become a key symbol of the protests. The flag had to be taken down, but the demonstrators expressed their displeasure with chants calling for a tribunal while the officers walked off.
8:05 pm Sviatlana Tsikhanovskaya’s trusted representative Olga Kovalkova has been taken to the Akrescina detention center. Sergey Dylevski, activist and member of the Minsk Tractor Plant strike committee, was also arrested earlier. His whereabouts remains unknown.Akrescina detention center is notorious for particularly violent beatings and torture of those arrested during the protests between August 10th and August 13th.
8:25 pm Representatives of the Minsk police office commented on the arrests that took place in Independence Square: “These young people were detained for an administrative offence. Currently, there are no more than 300 people in the Square”.
8:30 pm In Independence Square in Minsk, people are turning on their flashlights. This has become a tradition among demonstrators.
8:40 pm Three people have been arrested at the rally in Hrodna.
8:50 pm Anzhelika Kuhto, a woman whose son Nikita Krivtsov was found dead after recent protests, told Euroradio that the mortuary staff were denying her access to the body, even for identification purposes.Their excuse is that the identification cannot be carried out without the investigator for the case present. The latter, in turn, is refusing to come.Earlier, Nasha Niva reported the death of the 28-year old who took part in the protests and then went missing on August 12th. The news source claimed that Nikita’s severely beaten body was found in a forest in the Partizansky neighborhood of Minsk.
9:00 pm According to the BBC, Alexander Lavrinovich, chairman of the Minsk Tractor Wheel Plant strike committee, is also at the Akrescina detention center. He was arrested earlier today.
9:05 pm People continue forming solidarity chains near the spot where Aliaksandr Taraikouski was shot dead on the first day of the protests. Drivers of passing cars are expressing their support by honking.
9:10 pm Alexey Kuzmich, artist and author of a performance called “I believe” or “In the animal kingdom”, which took place at a polling station and out in the street on election day, was again called in for questioning by the Investigative Committee.He has already been arrested, beaten and tried once since the election.
9:25 pm People are remaining in Independence Square in Minsk, but their chants are drowned by loud Soviet-era music.Recently, city authorities have installed loudspeakers on top of the buildings surrounding the square.
9:30 pm From August 24th, a number of military bases will be put on high alert and start enlisting personnel from army reserves. This announcement was made via the official Ministry of Defense. They also intend to conduct an inspection culminating in a tactical military exercise.
9:35 pm Maria Kolesnikova, coordinator of Victor Babariko’s election team and member of the National Coordination Council, has published a statement via the official Telegram channel of the campaign.She pointed out that more and more people are refusing to cooperate with the current regime, taking to the streets and going on strikes. Belarusian protests have made the front pages of many major news outlets around the world.Maria also stated that the government is scared of its people, while state TV channels have flushed the remains of ethics down the toilet by publishing fakes.She emphasized that everything and everyone matters in this fight for future victory. Every opinion and every action brings forward the day when Belarusians will bring a close to all this and celebrate their freedom.Maria urged the people not to give up, because the only thing that can bring change is “our opposition”.
10:00 pm The rally in Independence Square in Minsk has ended, and most people have gone home. A few people were arrested today, although exact numbers are unknown. Two arrests were caught on camera.More rallies took place in Brest and Hrodna, with five people in total detained.
10:29 pm NEXTA.Life: Action plan for Tuesday 25th August is published:10:00 Gathering at the Investigative Committee (Minsk, Frunze st.,19) to support the Coordination Council member Pavel Latushka.12:00 Paying of last respects to the murdered Nikita Krivtsov in Molodechno.18:00 Gathering in Independence Square to remember the anniversary of the vote of the Supreme Council of the USSR in favor of the independence of Belarus in 1991.
10:30 pm INTERFAX: The Ministry of Defense of Belarus is embarking on the third stage of a comprehensive check of the armed forces’ combat readiness, which provides for preparation of some military units to the highest degree of combat readiness. It is known that the armed forces of Belarus are currently conducting large-scale tactical exercises in the Hrodna region, near the border with Lithuania.
10:39 pm NAVINY.BY: The German Foreign Minister called on Lukashenko “to recognize the reality on the streets as well as the reality in the people’s minds in the country”, and expressed concerns about the continuing unrest and violence against the protesters.
10:46 pm The Education Minister of Belarus, Igor Karpenko, made an appeal to parents, urging them to stop attacks on teachers and not to turn schools into a political battlefield. Most of the polling stations in the 9th August presidential elections were located in schools. Teachers took part in the vote count and therefore some will have overseen or participated in the falsification of the results.
10:59 pm NAVINY.BY: The Belarusian Football Federation sent a letter to the heads of football clubs signed by general secretary Sergei Zhardetsky, accusing the players of “political propaganda” and reminding them of the neutrality of football as an Olympic sport.During the football matches which took place on 21- 23 August, players used gestures, items of clothing, and inscriptions on their kit to openly display their political beliefs and preferences.