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The 9 August presidential vote in Belarus and its immediate aftermath

Since the 9 August presidential vote, the situation in Belarus has been changing rapidly every day. Belarusians do not believe the officially announced results: 80% for the incumbent Alexander Lukashenka and 10% for his main challenger Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya. Since...

Since the 9 August presidential vote, the situation in Belarus has been changing rapidly every day. Belarusians do not believe the officially announced results: 80% for the incumbent Alexander Lukashenka and 10% for his main challenger Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya. Since Sunday evening, public peaceful protests and solidarity actions have taken place across Belarus.

  • Domestic observers characterise the 2020 vote as the “worst elections ever”. Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections campaign filed 3,000 complaints. Honest People counted over 5,000 violations of the election law. 41.7% of voters took part in early voting, which is an all-time record for the presidential elections in Belarus and led to total turnout of more than 100% in some polling stations.
  • Out of nearly 6,000 precinct election commissions, several dozen commissions managed to count the votes fairly. According to official protocols, Tsikhanouskaya received between 60% and 90% of support in a number of districts. Meanwhile, over 1.2m Belarusians voted on the online platform Golos – Tsikhanouskaya received 80% support.
  • The internet was shut down in Belarus from the evening of 9 August until the morning of 12 August. Only messaging application Telegram and some other online resources were available inside the country for those who used VPN and proxy protection. Telegram channels gained phenomenal popularity; the audience of the Nexta Live Telegram channel has increased six fold and now has 1.9m subscribers.
  • The first four days of night-time protests, on 9-12 August in 30 Belarusian cities, ended in disproportionate and brutal use of violence by the police. The police used weapons and equipment never used before: water cannons, rubber bullets, stun grenades. Over 6,700 people were detained, including journalists; dozens of new criminal cases were opened; one protester in Minsk, Alexander Taraikovsky, aged 34, died.
  • Starting from 12 August, hundreds of women in white dresses with flowers filled the streets of Belarusian cities, protesting against police brutality. Doctors, builders, workers, and teachers are joining solidarity actions. Numerous enterprises, including the largest ones, are joining the protests or going on strike. Among them are MAZ, BELAZ, BMZ, Grodno Azot, Astravets NPP, Minsk Metro, IT companies, and others. Protesters stand mostly unchallenged by police.
  • Starting from 13 August, the police started to release detained protesters – 2,000 people have been released to date. Many of them report torture and abuse. Human Rights organisations and media document evidence. Psychologists and lawyers are providing free help for the victims. The BY_Help initiative has raised over $2m from over 53,000 contributors to help those arrested and injured – an absolute record for Belarusian crowdfunding initiatives.

This overview has been prepared by Pact.

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