Europe’s Last Dictator’s Hold over Belarus

Out in force in Minsk. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images

After the most recent presidential election where Pres.Alexander Lukashenko won yet another presidential election to continue his 20-year regime, Belarusians have gathered in the capital city of Minsk, holding the opposition flag, white with red stripe, to protest the legitimacy of the regime.

What started as a small grassroots protest by college students and some dissidents has grown as the Belarus police force applied brutality and force to subdue the population.

Just a few days ago, police and special forces were seen shooting people with rubber bullets, throwing stun grenades, arresting them, and killing them. However, in recent weeks, those who were detained stand as examples of what is wrong with this regime.

State TV employees have gone on strikes, and the protest is a stark contrast to Pres. Alexander Lukashenko’s claim of winning with more than 80% of the popular vote.

However, Mr. Lukashenko doesn’t seem eager to move out of his comfortable position, as he’s made statements about contacting Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Whether the protests get more violent remains to be seen, but given how his last violent reaction only led to an even larger protest, he may only continue to lose whatever support he might actually have within the country.

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