Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Students march during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, on Sept. 1, 2020.

The Associated Press

Authorities in Belarus detained scores of university students who took to the streets Tuesday to demand that authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko resign after an election the opposition has denounced as rigged.

Hundreds of students gathered outside universities across the Belarusian capital, Minsk, and then marched across the city centre to the Education Ministry, continuing a fourth straight week of mass post-election protests. The demonstrators chanted for Lukashenko to “Go away!” and held banners demanding freedom for political prisoners.

Police cordons forced the demonstrators to change their route, and they detained dozens of them, according to the Viasna human rights centre. Viasna’s Valiantsin Stefanovich said that some of the detainees were beaten by police.

Story continues below advertisement

“Students and universities in general are a highly explosive group,” Stefanovich said in a telephone interview. “The authorities are really scared of strikes starting in universities and are carrying out demonstrative intimidation acts.”

Viasna said at least 62 people were detained, including eight journalists.

One protester, Tatyana Ivanova, said that students from the Minsk State Linguistics University ran into a campus building to avoid being detained, but police tracked them down there.

“It only fuels protest sentiments,” she said. “The more they beat and detain people, the more people understand that Lukashenko has lost.”

As evening fell, several hundred protesters marched through Minsk and gathered on the main Independence Square. Police let the rally go on but detained several people on the fringes of the square.

Hundreds also rallied in several other districts, forming “solidarity chains.”

Lukashenko, who has run the ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million with an iron fist for 26 years, has dismissed protesters as Western puppets.

Story continues below advertisement

After a ferocious crackdown on demonstrators immediately after the Aug. 9 election that drew international outrage, the government has avoided large-scale violence and sought to end the protests with threats and the selective jailing of activists.

Several organizers of strikes at top industrial plants have been detained. On Tuesday, dozens of demonstrators rallied outside the Minsk Tractor Plant to encourage workers to strike, but they were quickly dispersed by police.

Prosecutors have opened a criminal probe of the opposition’s Coordination Council set up after the election to try to negotiate a transition of power. Two of its members were given 10-day jail sentences on charges of staging unsanctioned protests, and several others were summoned for questioning.

Amid the official pressure, some opposition activists announced the creation of a new party, Together.

Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the Coordination Council, said the move will help overcome the current crisis. However, the party founders’ call for constitutional changes has stunned some other opposition council members, who argued that it could divert attention from the main goal of pushing for Lukashenko to step down.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger in the election, who fled to Lithuania under pressure from authorities, welcomed the new party but criticized its call for constitutional reform.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a good idea, just maybe not at the right time,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press, noting that the demands for the release of political prisoners, Lukashenko’s resignation and a new election must now top the protesters’ agenda. “The new party agenda is constitutional changes and I think this should be done after the elections.”

She warned that Lukashenko’s government shouldn’t hope the protests will lose steam.

“This government must understand that things will never be the same. People want changes,” Tsikhanouskaya said in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius.” They will not live with this president. They will not obey his orders any longer.”

Observers said the emergence of a new party erodes the opposition’s unity at a crucial moment.

“The creation of a parallel party de facto weakens the opposition, bringing chaos and bewilderment in protesters’ ranks and causing a split among the already-weak leaders,” said Alexander Klaskousky, an independent Minsk-based political analyst. “The party lacks program and its goals look vague. It looks more like an attempt to take the leadership over protests and get rid of political competitors.”

Klaskousky noted that the new party’s call for constitutional reform echoes Lukashenko’s proposals to draft a new version of the constitution – an initiative widely seen as an attempt to win time and steal the protesters’ thunder.

Story continues below advertisement

The Belarusian leader has alternated vague promises of reforms with threats and pressure.

On Monday, the authorities denied entry to the Roman Catholic archbishop of Minsk and Mohilev, who was returning to Belarus from Poland. Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz strongly criticized the Belarusian police last week.

Lukashenko on Tuesday accused Konrdusiewicz of “delving into politics and dragging believers, Catholics” into it and “receiving orders from Poland.”

The United States and the European Union have criticized the Aug. 9 election that gave Lukashenko a sixth term as neither free nor fair and urged Belarusian authorities to begin a dialogue with the opposition.

Facing Western pressure, Lukashenko has vowed to cement ties with Russia, which has a union treaty with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week he stands ready to send police to Belarus at Lukashenko’s request if the demonstrations turn violent, but added that there is no need for that yet.

“We will preserve our common Fatherland of two peoples that share one root, the Fatherland that spreads from Brest to Vladivostok,” Lukashenko said, referring to the Belarusian city on the border with Poland, and the Russian Pacific port.

Story continues below advertisement

The president bristled at the idea and alleged the opposition would wage “a massacre” on his allies if it takes power in Belarus.

“It wouldn’t be a purge, like some say. It would be a massacre,” he said Tuesday.

The police crackdown immediately after the election left nearly 7,000 people detained, hundreds injured by rubber bullets, stun grenades and beatings, and at least three protesters dead. Police then stopped interfering with the demonstrations, but last week they cranked up the pressure and again started to break up rallies and detain scores of participants.

The government also cracked down on the media, deporting some foreign journalists and revoking the accreditation of many Belarusian journalists. Two Moscow-based Associated Press journalists who were covering the protests were deported to Russia on Saturday. In addition, the AP’s Belarusian journalists were told by the government that their press credentials had been revoked.

U.S. and EU officials have strongly condemned the media crackdown.

Self-exiled Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Tuesday that 'intimidation will not work' after two other opposition leaders appeared in court as President Alexander Lukashenko's government pursues a crackdown on the few figures still at large. Reuters

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies