A study by Chatham House found that more than a million people took part in the protests and each fifth city dweller. Quite a lot for a country of 9.5 million.
First, Belarusians demanded free and fair elections. Later, demands to stop police violence and free political prisoners were added.
As Nasha Niva put it, by the will of fate, Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya, the wife of a political prisoner who was a housewife prior to the arrest of her husband and took care of the children, became a symbol of the protest when she mustered the courage to enroll in the elections instead of her husband. Now she is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“This nomination happened because the world admires the peaceful nature of the protests – peaceful, despite the bloody suppression of demonstrations and mass repressions that have already affected 30,000 people. And because the Belarusian protest gave hope to other peoples of the former Soviet Union,” — Nasha Niva.
Indeed, protesters remain peaceful despite the shocking brutality of Lukashenka’s regime. According to the Pray for Belarus initiative,
- Seven lives were lost, including the life of Raman Bandarenka this past Thursday. Roman was a 31-year old art teacher. On Wednesday, he stepped out of his apartment to defend the national Belarusian symbols carefully hung by children and adults in the courtyard of his apartment building. He was brutally beaten by Lukashenka’s police wearing black masks and no insignia. Roman was later pronounced dead from head injuries.
- 25,000 people were arrested, including doctors, lawyers, retirees, students, and people with disabilities.
- 1,000 protesters are facing criminal charges.
- 500 cases of torture were documented according to the OSCE Moscow Mechanism Report on Belarus.
- Many detained protesters experienced severe beatings, degrading treatment, and threats of sexual violence. Teenage children are among the abused.
- Thousands of political refugees had to flee the country.
Meanwhile, not a single democratic country has recognized Lukashenka as a legitimate representative of the Belarusian people.
The OSCE experts confirmed that the August 9th presidential election was completely rigged.
According to the independent vote counting platform “Golos” and post-election polls conducted by Chatham House, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya won the majority of the votes.
The 100 days of protests have been recalled by the Belarusian media TUT.BY, which has been in the epicenter of the most important events and has now shared its memorable and striking photos:
“Behind them are more than one interesting story. These are the stories about how scary it was to be there. The stories about how difficult it was to capture the moment when one is overflowing with tears or joy.
The stories we want to remember. During these 100 days, we learned a lot about ourselves and our colleagues, who, in extreme conditions, revealed themselves in a completely new way. But the most important thing is that we learned a lot about Belarusians. They really turned out to be incredible!” — TUT.BY