Belarusian law enforcement agencies have reportedly started detaining participants in the March of Freedom in different districts of Minsk on August 16.
Around 15 police vans, several buses and minibuses, as well as other vehicles drove along Independence Avenue towards the city's Uruchcha microdistrict, according to the Telegram channels NEXTA Live, Euroradio, Tut.by.
Other sources report several people near the capital city's GUM shopping mall were seized,dragged into a minibus and driven away in an unknown direction.
Euroradio wrote "the information has been confirmed that people leaving the mass rally in the center of Minsk are being detained. Detentions take place both in the city center and on the outskirts, in the yards of residential buildings."
Belarus protests in brief
- On August 9, presidential elections were held in Belarus.
- The country's Central Election Commission announced the final election results. In particular, 80.1% of voters supported incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, 10.1% voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, 1.67% for Anna Kanopatskaya, 1.2% for Andrey Dmitriev, and 1.14% for Sergei Cherechnya. Some 4.59% voted against all candidates.
- On the evening of August 9, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to take part in spontaneous rallies, which was followed by clashes with law enforcement. The police in Minsk used water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades, and fired rubber bullets in a crackdown on protests.
- Belarus' Ministry of Internal Affairs announced about 3,000 protesters were detained on the night of August 10, more than 2,000 people on the night of August 11, and more than 1,000 on the third night of the protests in different towns and cities across the country. The ministry confirmed one of the protesters had died. As of today, there were reports about two deaths among protesters.
- The UN has condemned the violence and violation of human rights in Belarus, a number of countries have called on Minsk to stop the atrocities.
- Belarus' largest march of freedom began across the country on August 16. Some 200,000 protesters came to take part in the mass event in Minsk. In turn, the Belarusian authorities reportedly bussed workers of state-run enterprises and organizations to the center of the capital city to arrange a pro-government rally.