The second week is starting in the fight for the rights of the Belarusian people to be heard and not silenced.
A new large-scale event has been planned for today: “New Belarus March”. “Minsk! Take your neighbors and walk together to the center from the residential districts. Other cities and towns! We will be waiting for you! Organize in the morning and move towards Minsk in transport columns!” – wrote the New Belarus March organizers on social media. They also promise that the “leaders of the Coordinating Council will make an important program announcement today” which “will turn around everything”.
8:00 am Nikita Krivtsov, who went missing during the protests on 12th August, was found hanged in one of Minsk’s parks.
8:30 am The round-the-clock hotline organized by the authorities “to address the concern of Minsk residents about the social and political situation in the city” has been closed. The official reason is that people used the line to solve routine issues. “67% concerned housing and utility issues”
9:00 am Road police for the Minsk region are holding a special operation “Filter” aimed “to detect drivers who violate road traffic rules, and to prevent road accidents”. The operation was announced on 21st August following the announcement of the New Belarus March.
9:30 am Media publishes new statements made by the European leaders in response to Lukashenko’s allegations.
NATO’s Spokesperson Oana Lungescu stated that “Any claims about a NATO buildup on the border with Belarus are baseless. NATO poses no threat to Belarus or any other country & has no military buildup in the region.” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda called it “totally baseless statements about imaginary external threats,” and Polish president’s chief of staff, Krzysztof Szczerski, addressed it as “regime propaganda”, calling it “sad and surprising”.
However, the idea of a threat from Europe was repeatedly used by Lukashenko during his visit to the Hrodna region. [NATO troops in Lithuania] “approach the border, turn back and leave” [….] “But we see them”, stated the Minister of Defence of Belarus Viktor Khrenin. Lukashenko promised to react to violations of state borders “without warning” and pointed out that tactical missiles were put on ground alert.
10:00 am TUT.BY asked its readers to help to find Leonid Malikhov, a demonstrator who was last seen on 21st August at the protest rally. After the demonstration, he hasn’t been in touch for over 24 hours.
10:30 am An extract from an interview given by the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky to Euronews is published on the Internet. He stated how he would have acted in Lukashenko’s place…
“Let’s imagine that I am confident about myself, I am confident in the people’s vote, that I am a confident person. How can I calm everyone down?” he said.” I would definitely say: ‘in one month there will be a new vote. And I am running for the new election. Whoever wants to run — go ahead! I would invite everyone, all international observers, all of them.[…] And after that result, there would be no more questions.[…] If Lukashenko won, he’d win; if someone else won, then it’s someone else. But everyone would be calm, without blood [being shed], it would be fair and would make history.”
11:05 am Onliner.by states that specialized motor vehicles have been seen in the streets of Minsk. Let’s keep in mind that a large-scale protest demonstration – New Belarus March, is planned for today.
11:24 am Belarusian Radio refused to broadcast the Sunday Mass from the Cathedral of the Holy Name of Mary in Minsk,representatives of the cathedral explained to Interfax-West.
Earlier, Latin Archdiocese of Minsk and Mahilyow Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz came to the Detention Ward in Akrescina and prayed by the walls of the building. He also called on Alexander Lukashenko to stop the violence.
11:50 am TUT.BY has published photos of official cars taking part in the motor rally in support of Lukashenko. It is thought that the rally is being organized to hinder people coming to the March of New Belarus in Minsk from the regions. NoonA column of Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant workers and their sympathizers has started the rally from the plant building to the city center. So far, there are only about 50 people, but soon they will be joined by the Minsk Automobile Plant and other protesters.
12:15 pm It’s pouring with rain in Minsk. The workers of industrial enterprises joined by city residents keep moving towards the city center. People are chanting “Long live Belarus!”, “Go away”. There are already about 200 people in the column.
12:20 pm The path to the Government House and the Lenin monument in Minsk has been surrounded by metal barriers. A large number of trucks and buses have been sent to the area by security forces.
12:43 pm AFN.by reports that former President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his family have left the country. Bakiev fled to Belarus after the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010.
1:00 pm Some of the metro stations in the center of Minsk have been closed and trains do not stop at the stations. Minsk Metro said that this has been made “for the safety of passengers”
1:05 pm Readers send TUT.BY videos of tanks and water cannons on the streets adjacent to the city center.
1:20 pm Head of the Department of Internal Affairs for Minsk City Executive Committee Ivan Kubrakov asked Minsk residents and guests to be reasonable and not break the law when taking part in unauthorized mass gatherings. According to MIA reports, 26 citizens were detained yesterday.
1.45 pm Despite bad weather and efforts by authorities to prevent the rally, more and more people with red-white flags gather in various places in the city, so they can proceed in columns in the direction of Independence Square.
1:52 pm A loudspeaker on the Executive Committee Building was switched on: it called for the people who have gathered at Independence Square to leave warning them of consequences if they don’t.
1:55 pm Riot police gather near Victory Square in Vitebsk where a rally is due to take place in protest at the election results. Police vans and trucks are stationed in Kalinin street.
2:00 pm Gomel authorities didn’t leave any space for peaceful demonstrations..A children’s art exhibition is organized in one of the traditional gathering places and a machinery display blocks another place. Two days ago combine harvesters, lorries, and asphalt paving machines were brought here. People have no space to stand and they made a line along the road.
2.05 pm Direct speech. Taisia, a rally participant: “I am here today because we want peace! We don’t want to sell our country to anybody, not to the West, not to Russia. We want the truth because we are tired of lies from our government. We do not divide the Belarusian people into two camps. The authorities do that.”
2:07 pm Several thousand people have gathered in the square in Hrodna. They are chanting “Go away!” Riot police and police vans are along the perimeter of the square. Police are walking around the square warning the demonstrators that the rally is not authorized.
2:09 pm Several thousand people have already gathered in Independence Square in Minsk
2:12 pm The police have blocked one of the bridges on the way to Independence Square and won’t let people through.
2:15 pm Numerous columns of people continue to move towards Independence Square in Minsk. Prison vans are driving past the columns – people waving their hands to them. No one has been detained.
2:20 pm In Vitebsk, the police are asking the protesters to leave. On Independence Square in Minsk, security officials’ information transport warns through loudspeakers that the assembly hasn’t been properly authorized and force may be used against the protesters.
2:34 pm The authorities’ attempts to drive a wedge between people based on the “flag colors” have failed.People with both red-white and red-green flags gather together and chant “Go away!” and “Long Live Belarus”. One slogan says: “Flag is not an enemy. We are all different but have the same aim”.
2:40 pm A column of 10 thousand people is moving toward the center of Hrodna. Video.
2:50 pm More and more people are joining the March in Minsk.
2:56 pm In Gomel, police are recording a video of all the protesters.
2.58 pm The Independence square in Minsk is full of people. New people keep coming.
3:00 pm Minsk Hero City Obelisk, where over 300 thousand protesters gathered last weekend is now surrounded with barbed wire.
3:05 pm Tens of thousands of people gathered on Independence Square in Minsk, demanding Lukashenka’s resignation. Hundreds of people continue to arrive from all over the city.
3:10 pm Public announcements system on Independence Square is playing Soviet times’ music with a message that the rally hasn’t been authorized broadcast intermittently.
3:15 pm More rallies are taking place in other cities and towns of Belarus:
Several thousand people gathered in Hrodna. Riot police and security enforcement vans have surrounded the Square. A thousand strong column of protesters is walking through Brest. A column of people holding white-red-white flags is walking through Novogrudok. People in Lida are chanting “We believe! We can! We’ll win!” – the slogan of the joint headquarters of Tsikhanouskaya, the ex-presidential candidate of the Republic of Belarus. About two thousand people are taking part in the rally in support of changes in Gomel. When the protesters were paying tribute to the victims of the police violence, an announcement from the loudspeaker broke in but was drowned out by the chanting “We will not forget, we will not forgive!” People also took to the streets in Vitebsk, Polotsk, Soligorsk, Kobrin, Mogilev and many other Belarusian cities.
3:30 pm A minute of silence in Minsk to pay tribute to those dead during the protests. As of today, the number of victims has reached seven lives.
3:40 pm Alena Krevtsova, wife of Nikita Krivtsov, a protester found hanged filed for a murder investigation. She does not believe that Nikita could have committed suicide. Also there has been a video where Nikita stands in front of a line of riot police with a white-red-white flag.
4:00 pm Protesters begin to move from Independence Square in Minsk towards the Planet Hotel next to Minsk Hero City Obelisk. The Obelisk is now surrounded by barbed wire, and riot police and the military are on duty around it.
4:15 pm People are gathering near detention centres in Minsk and Hrodna where the protesters have been and are still being taken to. People chant: “Let them go!”
4:35 pm Thousands of people passing by the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are chanting “Karaev to prison”. [Yuri Karaev is the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus. In response to accusations of terror and brutality of the riot police against the detained protesters on 10-13th August, he simply apologized]
People passing by the KGB building are chanting “Let’s not forget, we will not forgive”, “Tribunal”, “Freedom”, “Let them go”.
4:45 pm Tens of thousands of people are approaching the Planeta Hotel, where a rally will begin in the next few minutes. The hotel is located opposite Minsk Hero City Obelisk.
The monument is guarded by the military, and Belarusian Defense Ministry promised this morning to protect military monuments from the “fascists” walking under white-red-white flags.
4:50 pm The protesters were joined by members of the Coordinating Council including former Minister of Culture and diplomat, Pavel Latushko and lawyer Maxim Znak. The Chairman of the Coordinating Council Maria Kolesnikova also joined the protesters.
5:08 pm In Hrodna people knelt in memory of the victims.
5:40 pm A member of the Coordinating Council, Olga Kovalkova, a confidant of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, speaks at the stage near Planeta Hotel. “The Council is implementing the program of Tsikhanouskaya: the release of political prisoners and new elections.” “Lukashenko must resign to restore normal operation of production and business.”
5:47 pm Pavel Latushko is speaking at the “Planet”. He says: “We are not the opposition, we are the majority.” The Coordinating Council decided on the following steps:
- Recalling all House of Representatives deputies who have not clearly expressed their opinion and position
- Initiate the procedure to recall all the members of local councils
- Initiate a republican referendum on the return of the 1994 constitution that limits the presidentship terms.
5:50 pm Near the Minsk Hero City Obelisk, people are slowly coming closer and closer to the riot police. Some protesters restrain others so they don’t get too close. Calls to disperse are still heard from the speakers.
Meanwhile, a TUT.BY correspondent reports that soldiers with Dragunov sniper rifles and rocket propelled grenades were seen on the square.
5:55 pm Minsk. 10-15 buses, vans and 4 police trucks approach the Minsk Hero City Obelisk via an adjacent street.
5:58 pm Maria Kolesnikova urges the protestants not to stop. She compared Lukashenka to a dismissed director who locked himself in his office and did not want to leave. “We demand the replacement of one person. The authorities are trying to say that the protest is dying down. Our resistance is a marathon. We can handle it.”
6:01 pm TUT.BY readers continue to report that riot police vans and trucks are moving towards the square and have described a convoy of police vehicles coming from the Palace of Independence in order to disperse the protesters.
Nexta Live, an opposition news resource, is urging the demonstrators in Minsk to stay away from police roadblocks, asking them instead to return to Oktyabrskaya and Independence Squares and continue the rallies outside the city center.
6:04 pm Riot police have cordoned off an area around Minsk CIty Hero Obelisk using spiral razor wire. Military personnel are also present; they are armed with machine guns and combat rifles.
6:12 pm Crowds of people are walking towards National Flag Square. Security forces have cordoned off the road leading to the Palace of Independence, which serves as Lukashenko’s working residence.
6:19 pm A group of protestors is marching from Minsk City Hero Obelisk towards the city center chanting “Long Live Belarus!” and “Go away!”. Another group is escorting members of the National Coordination Council towards Nemiga, while some demonstrators are trying to continue the march towards National Flag Square. The road near the Palace of Independence is blocked by police vehicles with siren lights on.
6:20 pm According to Lukashenko’s press office, he ordered police and special services in the Hrodna region to “identify all the instigators and troublemakers.” He also warned opposition media that they’ve got the weekend to think over their position and stop what he called “propaganda”. The president added: “No offence, but starting Monday the government will start executing its lawful powers.”
6:23 pm The protestors marching down Victors Avenue (the road leading to the Palace of Independence) had initially stopped about 200 m (650 ft) away from the police lines, chanting “Tribunal!” and “Go away!”. At the moment, there is a mere 50 m (165 ft) between the security forces and a crowd chanting “Shame on you!” Police vehicles with engines running are ready to be deployed at any moment.
6:27 pm Today a 50,000 person chain of solidarity with the protesters has connected central Vilnius and the Lithuania-Belarus border, stretching on for 35 km (22 mi).
6:31 pm TUT.BY readers have reported large numbers of military personnel armed with combat rifles inside the hotel Planeta.
6:40 pm The users of MTS wireless service provider in Minsk are saying their internet connection is down at home as well as on their mobile phones.
6:44 pm According to TUT.BY, a line of buses full of law enforcement officers has left the main railway station. An ambulance is also a part of the convoy.
Armoured vehicles were seen in the vicinity of the Palace of Independence. Security forces are moving around quickly, holding their shields.
Opposition Telegram channel Nexta reported that Lukashenko is currently inside the Palace where the protestors were met with police roadblocks.
6:55 pm Six armored vehicles and two cars full of military personnel are driving towards the city center.
7:05 pm A helicopter has arrived at the Palace of Independence (Lukashenko’s working residence). Before touching down, the aircraft circled the sky above the demonstrators, who chanted “Fly away!” and “You are fired!”TUT.BY readers were able to film the helicopter landing at the Palace of Independence.
7:06 pm A discussion like “he’s coming back to the Palace of Independence” can be heard in the protesting crowd.
7:10 pm The road near Minsk Hero City Obelisk, which has become a popular site for opposition rallies, has been cordoned off by the road police. They are telling people to get off the driving lanes. The demonstrators are reluctantly obeying, TUT.BY reports. Some protesters are walking towards the city center with glowing flashlights, while others are dispersing in different directions.
7:25 pm A “Road to freedom” event has taken place in Latvia today. People were wearing white and red clothes to show their support of Belarusians, who are fighting for democratic change. Latvian president Egils Levits attended the event in Riga.
7:29 pm Several Telegram channels have reported that Lukashenko had already left the Palace where the protestors had come. However, photographer Anton Motolko reported that the helicopter is still stationed there.
7:30 pm According to an Onliner.by reporter, the security forces are leaving the area around the Palace of Independence, with the confrontation ending peacefully. He also added that no one had been arrested.
This is what the police roadblock near the Palace of Independence looked like.
7:36 pm According to the official Telegram channel of the presidential press service, Lukashenko had not left the Palace of Independence. On the contrary, the helicopter brought him there. A video was posted where he gets off the helicopter wearing a bulletproof vest and holding something closely resembling a rifle.
7:42 pm Nexta reported that security forces are starting to completely cordon off central Minsk. The personnel are holding shields, but not raising them up. The protestors are standing nearby but at a significant distance.
7:45 pm State owned media resource “Belta” has published another video of Lukashenko at his working residence. He can be heard replying “Leave me alone!” to one of the people accompanying him. Then, pointing forward, he asks: “Everyone has already left, haven’t they?” Euroradio notes that in the video Lukashenko points towards Victors Avenue, where the demonstrators had been standing shortly before.
7:50 pm Lukashenko’s press office reports: “The president, armed with an automatic rifle, is wearing a bulletproof vest”.
7:51 pm Belsat readers have reported attempted arrests by the riot police on Lenina street in Minsk. The group of protestors, however, was able to scatter around and no one was detained.
8:00 pm Army personnel have retreated from Minsk Hero City Obelisk, but Radio Svoboda reports that the barbed wire barriers are still there.
8:04 pm A spokesman for the A1 wireless service provider told onliner.by that the internet outages are due to “government officials’ orders to significantly limit the capacity of the network in the interests of national security”. Problems with mobile internet were first reported at the time when the demonstrators had approached the Palace of Independence.
8:08 pm Witnesses have described a group of people with binoculars on the roof of the Palace of Independence. Radio Svoboda reports that they are snipers.
8:10 pm Lukashenko’s helicopter is still stationed at the Palace, according to Tut.by. Protestors, as well as law enforcement, have left the area.
8:15 pm Nexta reports that military helicopters are circling the skies above Minsk.
8:17 pm State owned media outlet Belta has published three more videos of Lukashenko. In two of them, he can be seen walking along the Palace of Independence, and another one shows the president inside his helicopter above the city. He orders the pilots to fly closer to the Victors Avenue, looks down upon a large crowd of protestors near Minsk Hero City Obelisk, and utters, “They have run off like rats”.
8:19 pm Euroradio reports numerous police vans and buses with personnel driving towards Independence Square, where a few hundred protestors have gathered.
8:21 pm It has started raining in Minsk, and people are walking away from Independence Square.
8:33 pm Nexta published a photograph confirming that the young man wearing a special forces uniform, who is accompanying Lukashenko in videos, is indeed his 15-year old son Nikolay.
8:34 pm Dozhd TV channel (tvrain.ru) described protestors leaving flowers on the barbed wire barriers around Minsk Hero City Obelisk.
8:36 pm Military vehicles have left Independence Square.
8:42 pm A large group of vehicles, including police vans, buses, trucks carrying personnel, water cannons and barbed wire, is moving towards the Minsk neighborhood of Uručča.
8:45 pm Euroradio analyzed the view from the window of the helicopter and claims that in the video Lukashenko watches the protesters who are moving away from the cordon towards the city center.
8:51 pm “As of 8:42 PM, the provision of data transmission services has been restored in full.” – reports onliner.by with reference to the cellular operator A1
8:58 pm The helicopter, which landed at the Palace of Independence, has departed, – reported photographer Anton Motolko. Euroradio noted that the helicopter flew away towards the Moscow Ring Road – probably Lukashenko is returning to his residence in Ostroshitsky Gorodok.
Meanwhile, Independence Square is now empty.
9:00 pm The telegram channel of the presidential press service published a video in which Lukashenko went beyond the cordon of the Palace of Independence and thanked the security forces: “Thank you, you are handsome!”
They answered: “We are with you to the end!”
The video shows how one of the machine gunners accompanying Lukashenko is hastily removing a white-red-white flag left by the protesters in a flower bed .
9:05 pm Euroradio journalists drew attention to the fact that when Lukashenka got out of the helicopter, his machine gun was without a magazine. And in the new video, when he came to the cordon, the machine gun was loaded.
Later they reported that the last video shows another machine gun.
9:17 pm The Dozhd TV channel highlights the inconsistency of official statements on the current location of Lukashenko.
The state agency “Belta” at 19:42 reported that “about an hour ago Alexander Lukashenko arrived at the Palace of Independence by air.”Now it is quoting Lukashenko’s press secretary Natalya Eismont: “For the whole day, since the very morning, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has been working in the situation center in the Palace of Independence, keeping the situation under control.”
9:28 pm The telegram channel of the Nasha Niva agency has published a photo of an emergency meeting at Lukashenka’s: with him is his 15-year-old son Nikolai in a bulletproof vest and with a machine gun on the table in front of him, and the press secretary Natalya Eismont in sports clothes.
10:00 pm Nasha Niva has published the best of the posters seen in the streets of Belarus today. Some of the read as “Alex, you are fired – go find another job!” and “Torture results can’t be fraudulent”, “Hague is waiting for you”.
10:17 pm Earlier today a demonstration was held by the Belarusian embassy in Moscow. One of the participants, Angelica Agurbash, a singer who represented Belarus at the Eurovision song contest, in its interview to the Dozhd TV channel said that “the regime has definitely come to an end” and that everyone wants to live “without fear in a free, democratic country”.
Radio Liberty reported 11 people detained during the demonstration in Moscow.
10:36 pm The official representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus Olga Chemodanova reported that no one was detained during today’s rally in Minsk. The information on the regions is still to be checked.
10:39 pm According to the Nexta channel, actions of Solidarity with Belarus have been held all over the world today. The white-red-white flags have emerged on the streets of the USA, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine.
11:00 pm Today the Coordinating Council was supposed to address the Belarusians with a number of important statements. Unfortunately, the security officers had blocked the transportation of the audio equipment, so it was not possible to organize a rally near the Planet Hotel. Here are the basic requirements:
- Recognition of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the winner of the presidential elections in Belarus
- Lukashenko’s resignation
- A call on the police officers to “be with the people” and not to perform illegal orders
- The indefinite strike of the plant and factory workers
- Commencement of the procedure to recall officials of all levels who haven’t clearly expressed their opinion and position
- New elections at all levels
- A call to the authorities not to divide Belarusians into pro-government and oppositionists – Belarusians are one people!
11:22 pm The onliner.by published a five-minute video digest “This Sunday in the streets of Minks zipped in 5 minutes”.