Belarus Election and Protests, from The Filter^:
Police stormed the opposition tent camp in the Belarusian capital Minsk early Friday morning, detaining hundreds of demonstrators who had spent a fourth night protesting President Alexander Lukashenko's victory in a disputed election.
The arrests came after a half dozen large police trucks and around 100 helmeted riot police with clubs pulled up to Oktyabrskaya Square in central Minsk about 3 a.m. (AP)
A few scattered thoughts on this
- The demonstrators had clearly learnt from the effective strategy used in Kiev
- so had Lukashenko
- This isn't an international issue - US and EU are making noises but don't think this is worth upsetting Putin over
- Putin and Lukashenko aren't especially close, so there's negotiating room with Moscow for non-radical regime change
- These things only work if the various opposition factions are united. In Minsk they showed signs of splitting after Malinkevich changed his mind and encourage demonstrators to stay until Saturday. That decision appears to have backfired, and could lead to a split in the opposition
- The fact it was stormed now seems to have pre-empted Saturday's protests. Consequently everything comes down to Saturday, and things look ominous
Our man in Minsk told me that he was intending to protest on Saturday. These events have severely increased the potential danger, and may impact his ability to write for us. I'll keep you all posted.
Day 1: Introduction and Links (click here)
Day 2: Liveblogging (click here)
Day 3: Updates (click here)
Day 4: Updates (click here)
Exclusive conversations with people in Minsk (click here)