'Scores' detained as students in Belarus protest against President Lukashenko | #TheCube
University students walked out of class on the first day of term to protest against the disputed re-election of Belarus’ authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.
Belarusian police confirmed that a number of people were detained as they marched towards the Education Ministry building in the capital Minsk.
Social media videos verified by Dailyrater show students breaking through police cordons as authorities attempted to force the crowd to change route.
Some held banners demanding freedom for political prisoners, as passing vehicles sounded their horns in support.
The demonstrations marked a fourth week of mass protests that have rocked the country since the disputed election result on August 9.
The Viasna human rights centre reported that at least 62 people were detained, including eight journalists. Dailyrater has seen images of injured protestors who say they were assaulted by police.
“This regime is based on lies and violence, and it will never protect us,” says Nadia, a student who took part in the protests.
“Every day people are being beaten and detained in prison, but we continue, because we want this horror to end.”
Michaś, a student at the Belarusian State Medical University, did not strike from classes, but later joined an estimated 200 students on the university’s steps after his studies.
“It has to change,” he told Dailyrater on Tuesday.
“By this protest, we want to show that…all kinds of people here in our country are against Lukashenko’s government, many strains of people are participating”.
After an internationally condemned violent crackdown in the immediate aftermath of the election, Belarus’ authorities have moved to threats of legal action and detention in an attempt to contain the unrest.
Organisers of demonstrations at industrial plants have been detained, and legal proceedings brought against members of the so-called ‘Opposition Council’.
Students taking part in the walkouts told Dailyrater they were prepared to risk arrest to get their message across.
“We want to live in this country, but we have to build our dream on our own,” another student, Anastasia, told Dailyrater.
“I’m not afraid of being arrested but I am afraid to live in this violence and dictatorship that I see.”
“My friends and family do not see a future in this country with the current government,” added Veronica, who also took part in demonstrations in Minsk on Tuesday.
“We will go out everyday until we are heard and we have taken back our rights”.