Dissent will not work: what could end the violent dispersal of protests in Belarus

The 99th anniversary of the proclamation of Belarusian people’s Republic – freedom Day, which at the state level is not marked – ended a brutal dispersal of opposition rallies. Such actions of the Belarusian authorities can lead to the fact that the number of malcontents increased, however, to Express their protests and they will be even more difficult, experts say.

Security forces beat and detained protesters in Belarus. Photo: AFP

The situation in Belarus will worsen

Such rallies of the Belarusian opposition holds every year. However, this year, because of the deteriorating socio-economic situation, especially considering the protests against the previous tax on “parasitism” (we are talking about the tax that must pay is not officially employed people – Ed.) the head of the Republic Alexander Lukashenko was more fear, said “Today,” political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko.

“Of course, Lukashenko feared that a Day Will can talk political, ideological protests social and economic. That is why, perhaps, he and has taken preventive measures and instructed to act more harshly,” – said Fesenko.

According to the expert of the Institute of social and economic research, Mykola Kapitonenko, the situation in Belarus is becoming more difficult due to the ineffective socio-economic model that exists in this country. The expert notes that it is not only about a disgruntled population of the country, but also the officials. So, with the reduction in the resources of the state will increase the number of dissatisfied that will destabilize the political system.

“Even if people didn’t take to the streets, will not try to go to government institutions and to overthrow someone, still the system will be destabilised due to internal conflicts” – the expert believes.

The classic response to the dissatisfaction with the authoritarian regime is repression, however historically formed so that such methods lead to collapse or revolution is postponed for some time, said Kapitonenko. In the case of Belarus, most likely, by the time of the change of power will be personal care of Alexander Lukashenko as President, he said.

At the same time, the opposition to Lukashenko will grow and grow as it is aging and generational upgrade of the Belarusian society, said Volodymyr Fesenko. But at the moment this process only starts in Belarus today there is no organized, strong, United opposition, says the analyst. In his opinion, the dispersal of protesters will increase the number of unhappy or disappointed with the situation, but an alternative to Lukashenko at the moment in Belarus.

“As the experience of many such regimes, an alternative to Lukashenko if it appears, within his regime,” – said Fesenko.

What could be the consequences of the dispersal of protests in Belarus

An elderly woman was knocked down during a rally in Minsk. Photo: Sergei Gudilin/nn.by

According to political analyst Vladimir Fesenko, the main consequence of such acceleration is that in Belarus over a short period of relative liberalization, during which Lukashenko avoided tough action against opposition. In addition, over the period of “thaw” in relations with the West. The expert suggests that the cooling in relations between Belarus and the West will continue, but Lukashenko once again turning in the direction of Russia.

“We saw the former President. Everything was back to normal. But this does not mean that Lukashenko has solved all the problems. He is afraid of a repetition in Belarus events similar to the Ukrainian Maidan. But Belarus is not Ukraine and Belarus, I think, problems will develop differently. They are just beginning to Lukashenko,” – said Fesenko.

Moreover, the crackdown on protests unlikely to provoke in Belarus for more than a mass protest, as happened in 2013 in Ukraine, says Mykola Kapitonenko. The expert noted that in Ukraine came because the country was not personal power and personality cult of the former President Viktor Yanukovych. And in today’s Belarus, as in Russia, such a regime is, therefore, the government will send more clear signals about possible military action, he said. Because of this, residents of Belarus will be more difficult to Express their protest in such form, and even more to gather more mass.

According to Kapitonenko, the situation of the inhabitants of Belarus, who prefer the usual mode of something unknown, will be greater than they were in his time in Ukraine.

Western countries and human rights organizations called for the release of all the detained civilians

The reaction of the world community to the dispersal of the rally and detention of its participants, we did not have to wait. The US, the EU, the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called for the release of all the detained civilians, and noted that such actions of the Belarusian authorities are contrary to democratic values. The OSCE called on Belarus to refrain from suppressing dissent and freedom of expression.

“People who took to the streets on Saturday and in recent weeks, exercised their right, which is inherent to a pluralistic society. The adoption of violent actions against it is disproportionate. The same thing can be said about the numerous arrests of protesters and journalists,” – said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel.

The Polish foreign Ministry said that what happened during the protest actions are examples of violations of basic civil liberties and human rights in recent years in Belarus.

“The grounds on which the EU wants to build an ongoing relationship with Belarus is the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, the right to freedom of Assembly and Association, and political rights of all civil movements in accordance with international standards and obligations,” the statement reads.

The Ministry of foreign Affairs of Belarus, in turn, said that does not understand that “non-European” Western politicians saw in the actions of Belarusian law-enforcement bodies on Saturday.

“Yesterday’s action was unauthorized. Participation in unauthorized actions draws specific implications in any country of the world. And that “non-European” were able to see the actions of our law enforcement agencies of Western policy? In Minsk dispersed the demonstrators with water cannons? Can be sprayed gas? No. And, thank God, has done without victims”, — said the press Secretary of the foreign Ministry of Belarus Dmitry Mironchik.

He also noted that the right of citizens to peaceful Assembly enshrined in the Constitution.

“However, the key word here is peaceful. If the events take place “Molotov cocktails”, customize the cars with weapons, connect the anarchists, calling such an action, civilians do not dare”, — said the representative of the foreign Ministry of Belarus.

However, in support of the demonstrators, addressed the international human rights organisations. As stated by Amnesty International, the Belarusian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested before and during peaceful protests and to stop the practice of repression against the demonstrators.

“Observers from Amnesty International witnessed the arrest of dozens of peaceful demonstrators in Minsk and saw the cases of excessive use of force by the police. They say that have not seen a single case of violence by the demonstrators. These arrests followed the preventive detentions of civil society leaders, opposition figures and tens of human rights defenders,” – said in a statement.

As noted by Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia Amnesty International Denis Krivosheev, the Belarusian authorities once again turned to authoritarian tactics: ban on demonstrations, preventive arrests of human rights defenders and arbitrary arrests of demonstrators.

The events in Belarus, are the culmination of a series of repressive measures by the authorities of the country from the beginning of March with the aim of suppressing the public protests, said representatives of the platform “Civil solidarity”.

“Given the seriousness of the crisis in the field of human rights and the unprecedented scale since December 2010, it is very important that the international community take decisive steps to end the repression in Belarus and justice for those against whom they are directed,” – said in a statement.

Moreover, as stated by the Chairman of the non-governmental human rights center “Viasna” in Belarus, Ales Bialiatski, from different cities of the country there are reports of persecution of human rights defenders in connection with the mass protests which have continued since mid-February. Representatives of human rights organizations and initiatives in exercising their professional functions as participants of peaceful rallies, intimidated, detained and condemned to administrative arrests.

“The government used mass protests of Belarusian citizens in different cities of the country to provide unprecedented pressure on human rights defenders, who all this time behave actively and selflessly, conduct monitoring of mass actions and the courts, providing assistance to victims of repression. So we too came under attack,” – says Belyatsky.

Note that on the eve of protest actions in Belarus, in the office center “Viasna” was arrested more than 50 people involved in the monitoring of protests, including foreign nationals from France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia.

Security forces beat and detained protesters in Belarus. Photo: AFP

March 25, the Belarusian opposition planned to hold two shares against of the law on “parasites” and in honor of freedom Day. Despite attempts by the organizers of the rally to register it, the Chairman of Minsk city Executive Committee Andrei Shorets said that any mass action on Saturday in Minsk will be considered illegal. Against such shares days earlier, made himself the head of the Belarusian state Alexander Lukashenko. Moreover, he stated that he will not allow the Ukrainian scenario in Belarus.

“The situation of Ukrainian in Belarus, not me. Can’t afford to Belarus repeated the Ukrainian version,” – said Lukashenko.

Despite this, the action in Minsk gathered about two thousand people. However, over all power dispersal of protesters. Hundreds of Riot police first pushed back the protesters, and then began to attack them, grabbing all who came – young people and women, and the elderly – were taken to paddy wagons.

According to human rights groups, the day was detained from five hundred to one thousand people, as protesters and bystanders. Among the detainees there were about 25 journalists. Most of them were released after drawing up protocols.

Riot police pushed into a paddy wagon to pensionerka in Minsk on freedom Day. Photo: tut.by

On this day a rally was held not only in Minsk, but also in Gomel, Vitebsk, Grodno and Brest. Thus, only in the Grodno and Brest actions were sanctioned by the authorities.

Video of dispersal of the rally, shot by the drone. Video: Youtube/TUT.BY

The next day a few dozen people again took to the Central square of Minsk to demand the release of peaceful demonstrators, human rights defenders and journalists. However, almost immediately detained them. To support the Belarusian people in Kiev came and Ukrainians. With white-red flags at the Embassy of the Republic of about 200 people chanted “Freedom to political prisoners” and “Ukraine solidarity”.