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22 Nov 2020 | 05:33 PM UTC

Belarus: Hundreds arrested during nationwide protests November 22 /update 69

More than 300 people arrested during nationwide protests on November 22; further protests likely

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BLR

Event

Belarussian activists report that 304 people were arrested at anti-government protests nationwide on Sunday, November 22. Protesters in Minsk reportedly gathered at sites throughout the city in an attempt to dilute the response of security forces, but they were met by a large police presence. Police reported used stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Other protests took place in several urban centers nationwide.

Further protests over the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko are likely over the near term. A heightened security presence and associated disruptions are to be expected in the vicinity of protest sites. Clashes between security personnel and protesters cannot be ruled out.

Context 

Protests have been taking place throughout Belarus since Lukashenko was declared the winner of the country's August 9 presidential election in a result which opposition groups denounced as fraudulent. The large-scale protests and increased political tensions have seen security forces blocking access to a number of cities as clashes with protesters were reported. Security forces have deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, batons, and stun grenades in attempts to disperse crowds.

Advice

Those scheduled to travel to Belarus should monitor developments regarding the increased border restrictions and review their travel itineraries accordingly. Travelers in the country should avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing politically sensitive topics in public or on social media.

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