Pro-democracy protesters in Belarus held their biggest event yet yesterday, a week after a disputed presidential election. The election extended the already 26-year reign of Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. Videos surfaced last week of officers brutally responding to protesters. Human rights groups say that hundreds have been beaten or injured. The widespread protests pose never-before-seen threats to President Lukashenko. Workers at government-owned enterprises have staged a strike and many police officers and state-media officials have resigned. Former paramilitary officials have even posted videos of them throwing away their uniforms.
The protests began peacefully but quickly escalated after police responded violently. Police have used rubber batons and rubber bullets, causing massive injuries. Hundreds have been arrested.
Blake is a writer focused on non-profits and trade industries. He has told the stories of countless peacebuilders while covering international development with the nonprofit Search for Common Ground. He is a graduate of the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.