Police in Belarus arrest 200 women at opposition protest

poliPolice in the capital of Belarus have cracked down sharply on a women’s protest march demanding the authoritarian president’s resignation.

Officers arrested more than 200 demonstrators, including an elderly woman. The woman has become a symbol of the six weeks of protest that have rocked the country. More than 2,000 women took part in the march in Minsk.

Such anti-government marches have become a regular feature of the unprecedented wave of large protests. They began after the 9 August presidential election.

Officials said president Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term in office with 80% support in that vote. But opponents and some poll workers say the results were rigged.

Belarus Protests
Police officers arrested around 200 protesters (TUT.by/PA)

Mass protests

During Lukashenko’s 26 years in office, he has consistently repressed opposition and independent news media.

Read on...

Large demonstrations have been taking place in cities throughout the country. And some protests on Sunday 20 September in Minsk have attracted crowds estimated at up to 200,000 people.

Human rights group Viasna said the police arrested more than 200 people during the march on Saturday 19 September. Viasna member Valentin Stepanovich told the Associated Press:

There were so many people detained that lines formed at the prisoner transports

Belarus Protests
Women stand holding hands in front of police officers (AP Photo)

Among those detained was Nina Bahinskaya, a 73-year-old former geologist. Her defiance has made her a popular figure in the protests.

Many of the women in Saturday’s march chanted “We’re walking!”. This is a reference to when police told Bahinskaya that she was taking part in an unauthorised protest and she snapped back, “I’m taking a walk”.


Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko’s main opponent in the election, praised the women’s march. She did this via a video statement from Lithuania, where she fled after the election. She said:

They have frightened and put pressure on women for the second month, but despite this, Belarusians are continuing their peaceful protest and showing their amazing fortitude

Belarus Protests
Protesters wants the president to step down (TUT.by/AP)

Several top members of the Coordination Council, which the opposition has created to push for a new election, have been jailed. And others have been forced to leave the country. Maxim Znak, a leading member of the council, declared a hunger strike in prison on Friday 18 September.

In August, police detained thousands of protesters, some of whom had deep bruises from police beatings. Still, that did not stop the protests from growing to include strikes at major factories that had previously been a source of support for the embattled Lukashenko.

In a new strategy to stem the huge Sunday rallies, the Belarusian prosecutor general’s office said it has tracked down parents who took their children to opposition demonstrations.

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us