As protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election rage on in several cities, video footage has emerged showing the local riot police apparently deploying some heavy handed tactics against teenagers.
In a video widely shared on social media on Tuesday, two members of Belarus’ OMON tactical police can be seen restraining a young man, possibly a protester. The officers manhandle the suspect, and as bystanders complain, one officer tugs on the pin of a grenade.
Друзья, а вот это уже настоящая жесть. Двое сотрудников ОМОН избили 15-летнего парня, а после потащили его по асфальту. Один из силовиков угрожал гранатой собравшимся людям! 😱Видео: https://t.co/rt8xZmqxqGpic.twitter.com/m6lvSLGQvT
— Tribuna.com Беларусь (@goalsby) August 11, 2020
The detainee is eventually dragged away and bundled into an unmarked van, before being sped off to an uncertain fate. The Belarusian news portal TUT.BY, whose logo appears on the video, is currently unavailable amid reports of massive internet outages.
Lukashenko’s re-election, which Minsk says he won on Sunday with 80 percent of the vote, has been condemned by the opposition as fraudulent. Mass protests are a rare occurrence in Belarus, but the election drew crowds into the streets, where they were met with rubber bullets, tear gas, and flashbang grenades.
Authorities have accused the protesters of taking their instructions from abroad, particularly the Czech Republic, Poland, and the UK. Lukashenko has said he won’t allow a coup to take place on his soil. Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has left the country for Lithuania, a decision she says she made of her own free will, but one that came after an alleged assassination attempt agaisnt her. The murder plot was allegedly intercepted by the country’s security service, the KGB.
Police say they’ve confiscated molotov cocktails and improvised explosives from protesters, a claim given weight by the death of a demonstrator in Minsk on Monday, when an explosive device exploded in his hand before he could throw it at police officers.
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