Thousands stage flower protest in Belarus as EU weighs sanctions

Updated: Aug 13, 2020, 04:00 PM(IST)

Protesters formed human chains and marched through the streets of Belarus carrying flowers on Wednesday in anger at a crackdown by strongman President Alexander Lukashenko that has prompted the European Union to consider new sanctions against Minsk.

Let's take a look:

Human chain

Women dressed in white formed a human chain outside a covered food market in the capital Minsk, holding flowers in the air and chanting slogans, while a crowd also gathered outside a prison where protesters were being kept.


Second consecutive day

For the second day in a row, dozens of women joined hands in the capital on Thursday to form human chains, many wearing white and holding flowers, to denounce the violence.

The ministry said it had registered fewer instances of mass unrest "although the level of aggression towards members of law enforcement remains high".


6,000 protesters detained

Police in Belarus said Thursday they had detained 700 more people during a fourth day of protests over the ex-Soviet country's disputed election. Overall 6,000 protesters have been detained around the country.


'Attempt to topple government'

Lukashenko has accused the protesters of being in cahoots with foreign backers from Russia and elsewhere to topple his government, and compared them to criminal gangs.


Sanctions threatened

Lukashenko has sought better relations with the West amid strained relations with traditional ally Russia. Brussels lifted sanctions, imposed over Lukashenko's human rights record, in 2016, but will weigh new measures this week.

Lithuania, Poland and Latvia jointly offered to mediate between Lukashenko and the protesters, and threatened sanctions at a European or national level if the offer was declined.


Police brutality

In Brest, a city in southwestern Belarus on the Polish border, police fired live rounds after some protesters it said were armed with metal bars ignored warning shots fired in the air, the ministry said. One person was injured.


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