Two months after contested election, law enforcement returns to using disproportionate violence against protesters

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Riot police officers detain a participant in the March of Pride opposition event in Minsk, October 11, 2020. (Source: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS)

Belarus law enforcement bodies are exaggerating the level of protester violence to justify increased police brutality and use of firearms against Belarusians. The escalation in force took place the next day after Belarusian President Alyksandr Lukashenka visited political prisoners to discuss the country’s constitutional reforms. Many political analysts viewed it as the result of increased pressure from Moscow to resolve the political crisis and pressure from the European Union to free political prisoners. The increased police brutality could be a sign of Lukashenka’s impatience to stop the protests before they expand any further.

Protests in Belarus started after the presidential election on August 9, 2020. According to the final election results, Lukashenka received 80.1 percent of the vote to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s 10.1 percent. The lopsided vote count, public distrust in their veracity, and allegations of electoral fraud led to the ongoing protests around the country. Law enforcement has engaged excessive force by beating, torturing and humiliating detained protesters. …



@AtlanticCouncil's Digital Forensic Research Lab. Catalyzing a global network of digital forensic researchers, following conflicts in real time.

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