Belarusians March Despite Police Threat To Open Fire
Minsk, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Oct, 2020 ) :Thousands of Belarusians took to the streets of Minsk for a new protest against strongman Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday, in defiance of threats by authorities to open fire after weeks of demonstrations.
Earlier this week police claimed that protests were becoming more radicalised and warned that law enforcement would use lethal force "if necessary".
Belarusian authorities deployed military trucks on Sunday and phone networks were heavily disrupted.
Local operator MTS Belarus said it had been ordered to limit access to "ensure national security".
In a break from previous protests when demonstrators gathered in the city centre, protesters on Sunday marched along Partisan Prospect, the main transport artery in southeast Minsk and home to a number of factories.
- 'Descendants of glorious warriors' - The Nexta Live channel on social-media platform Telegram, which has coordinated protesters, urged Belarusians to express solidarity with workers during the protest, dubbed the "March of Partisans".
"We, descendants of glorious warriors and partisans, are worthy of our forefathers who already defeated fascism once," the channel said in a message to its more than two million subscribers.
Tikhanovskaya, who maintains she won the August polls, says Lukashenko must also release political prisoners and halt "state terror" unleashed against peaceful protesters.
Several people have died and thousands have been arrested in a post-election crackdown, with harrowing accounts emerging of abuse in jails. Many said they had been tortured, beaten and humiliated in detention.
Police have acknowledged using water cannon and stun grenades against demonstrators but the use of live ammunition would mark a major escalation in the months-long standoff.
On Friday, a senior interior ministry official, Nikolai Karpenkov, said firearms would be used "in a humane manner" and selectively against protesters who put up resistance.