MINSK (Sputnik) – More than 10 people were arrested during anti-government rallies in Minsk alone, likely many more cumulatively as reports about arrests keep coming from other regions of Belarus, Belarusian Interior Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova told Sputnik on Sunday.
“More than 10 people have been detained in Minsk so far, but the data is changing. Arrests were conducted in other Belarusian regions as well, but we cannot yet say how many people have been detained in the country as a whole”, Chemodanova said.
According to the spokeswoman, all arrests were conducted on the grounds of “violation of the law on mass assembly”.
Earlier in the day, a motorcade of security services vehicles with crowd control equipment and personnel was deployed near the National Flag Square and Independence Palace of Minsk.
REUTERS / VASILY FEDOSENKO
Historical white-red-white flags of Belarus are seen as people attend an opposition demonstration to protest against presidential election results, in Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus August 18, 2020.
“Arrests were conducted over attendance at unauthorised mass gatherings”, Natallya Hanusevich, a spokeswoman for the police department of the Minsk City Executive Committee, said.
Traffic was suspended and roads blocked in the areas where protesters plan to march, according to reports from the authorities. Seven subway stations were closed in downtown Minsk along the anticipated rally’s route, as announced by Minsk Metro authorities.
Protests in the Eastern European country have been ongoing since presidential elections in August. Protestors took to the streets in Minsk and other big cities after the opposition denounced the results of the vote which saw Lukashenko re-elected — and claimed instead that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, an opposition candidate, won the election.