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15 Nov 2020 | 01:46 PM UTC

Belarus: Hundreds arrested during nationwide anti-government protests November 15

Hundreds arrested during nationwide anti-government protests November 15; avoid all demonstrations as a precaution

security
BLR

Event

Anti-government demonstrations took place nationwide on Sunday, November 15, with reports stating that at least 500 protesters were arrested during the unrest. The demonstrations recently intensified following the death of an anti-government protester Roman Bondarenko last week, with participants on Sunday reportedly chanting the last-known written words of the victim "I'm going out" during the protests. In Minsk, the most intense clashes were seen around the square where Bondarenko was arrested and allegedly severely beaten by security forces, with reports stating that tear gas and stun grenades were deployed to disperse the participants.

A heightened security presence and localized transport disruptions are likely in the vicinity of any demonstration, with clashes between security forces and protesters likely to occur.

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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