2020-08-18
Protests on Independence Square / TUT.by

7:30 pm Two rallies in Gomel near the theater on Lenin Square,  a crowd is chanting “Go away!” and “Let go!”, and on the other side of the square, where yesterday the red-green flag was lowered and the red-white flag was raised,  a group of Lukashenko’s supporters gathered under a red-green flag.

7:52 pm In the French city Lyon, an action of solidarity with the Belarusians took place and people were singing  “Kupalinka”.

8:00 pm Huge number of people gathered near the pretrial-detention center No. 1 on Volodarskogo Street in Minsk. They were chanting “Let them out!” and demand to release all political prisoners. According to various assessments, there are 5-7 thousand people here.

8:05 pm Solidarity actions with Belarus were also held near the Belarusian Embassy in India and Malta.

8:25 pm About 10 thousand people gathered on Lenin Square in Grodno, a major centre in western Belarus. Deputies Lilia Kiryak, Elena Potapova, Irina Lukanskaya, Igor Zhuk responded to the protesters’ demands. The meeting was broadcasted live on the Grodno Plus TV channel for the first time. It was very emotional.

8:30 pm Belarusian state television reports that three persons were detained who allegedly “were preparing a provocation” against Lukashenko during his visit to the plant.

The main gist of provocation was that they “taught people what to shout.” 

8:36 pm Tomorrow, on Tuesday, Angela Merkel is planning to discuss the situation in Belarus with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

8:40 pm Earlier: Thousands of people came by the prisons in Minsk tonight and demanded to release the prisoners. They chanted “Let them out.” Five to seven thousand people gathered near the pre-trial detention ward on Volodarsky Street in the center of Minsk.

 8:45 pm Minsk. Thousands of people moved from the prison on Volodarsky Street to the detention ward  Akrescina, ill-famed for the most cruel torture of prisoners. The protestors will  have to pass half of the city.

Volunteers constantly approach the demonstrators and ask them not to go to Akrescina, because “it can provoke blood.” But the people at the head of the rally strongly disagree with this.

9:15 pm The state TV channel Belarus 1 on air said that during Lukashenko’s visit to the  Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT), provocation had allegedly been prepared. In fact, the outraged workers just booed the president and chanted “Go away”.

Alexander Lukashenko meeting with MZKT workers

Regions of Belarus tonight: protests are going on everywhere.

Grodno: a man has publicly thrown out his police uniform during the protests. Grodno state TV channel “Grodno +” broadcasted live protests in the city center (state TV channels are not allowed to do so).

Gomel: teachers report that they are being forced to go to a rally tomorrow in support of Lukashenko.
In Dokshitsy, the mayor came out to the people. The dialogue has started.

Mogilev: a chain of solidarity. 

09:50 pm The lights were turned off in the Detention ward on Akrescina in Minsk. Hundreds of people stand in silence near the prison. Thousands are marching along Dzerzhinsky Avenue towards this prison. 

Volunteers put crime-scene tape in front of the detention ward at Volodarsky, the protesters were asked not to cross them. It is  feared that in case of mass protests outside of the prison, the prisoners will continue to be tortured there. It has already happened before: when people greeted those leaving the prison applauding, the guards inside were beating the prisoners.

10:00 pm The protesters reached the park near the temporary detention ward in Akrescina. They stopped and chanted: “Freedom!”, “Tribunal”. Volunteers ask them to calm down; otherwise “it’s only going to get even worse for detainees.”

Protesters at Akrescina / vk.com

10:13 pm The head of the Department of North America and Western Europe of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, Andrei Bushilo, today decided to resign his post at the behest of his conscience.  The staff of the department applauded him, wished him a speedy return and presented him with a white-red-white flag.

10:20 pm Elshad Akberov, the head of  Zhodino TV channel, was fired for broadcasting “a video of violent dispersal of pickets.” Let us remind you that Zhodino is the city where one of the Auto Giants of the country “BELAZ” and pre-trial detention ward are located. People were brought there on August 10 through August 13. Mass rallies were also held there yesterday, demanding to release the detainees.

10:25 pm The Latvian Foreign Ministry handed a note of protest to the Ambassador of Belarus in Latvia regarding the detention of two Latvian citizens from August 10 to August 13 and “the use of physical and emotional violence” against them. Also, the Latvian Foreign Ministry expressed its opposition to the brutal actions of the Belarusian authorities and demanded immediate release of all detainees.