Belarus Protests Reach 50th Day as 100,000 Flood Streets

TOPSHOT - Opposition supporters parade through the streets during a rally to protest the country's presidential inauguration in Minsk on September 27, 2020. - Belarus police on September 27 detained "around 200" people during opposition rallies days after the strongman president staged a secret inauguration. The opposition movement calling for …
-/TUT.BY/AFP via Getty Images

In the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Sunday, roughly 100,000 people turned out for the 50th consecutive day of anti-governmental protests in the country.

Minsk-based human rights group Vyasna reported that state security forces detained about 380 people throughout Belarus during the September 27 rallies, which occurred outside of the capital as well. Roughly 150 people were arrested during protests on Saturday.

Belarus’s Interior Ministry reported similar figures, saying that “more than 350 people were detained during the demonstrations, bringing the total number of arrests over the weekend to about 500,” according to Radio Free Europe (RFE).

Sunday’s demonstrations were the latest in nearly two months of protest against the results of Belarus’s August 9 presidential election. The vote saw Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko — who has ruled over Belarus as its first and only president since 1994 — elected to a sixth consecutive term in office. Following the vote, dissidents took to the streets rejecting the results. They accused Belarus’s state election committee of handing Lukashenko the victory through fraudulent means and eventually called for him to step down. Belarus state security forces have cracked down on protesters, detaining roughly 12,000 people since protests began, according to Vyasna.

Lukashenko was officially sworn in for his sixth term as president in a ceremony in Minsk on September 23. On the day of the inauguration, Belarus state news agency Belta reported that the ceremony was “taking place in the capital of Minsk, with several hundred top government officials present.” Following the previously unannounced ceremony, European Union members and the U.S. issued statements saying that that they did not recognize Lukashenko’s legitimacy as president of Belarus.

Sunday’s demonstrations were, in part, a reaction to Lukashenko’s inauguration last week. Protesters staged the events as an “inauguration of the people,” according to RFE.

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