"There is a war going on here": what Belarusians say about the protests and Lukashenko

"There is a war going on here": what Belarusians say about the protests and Lukashenko

"There is a war going on here": what Belarusians say about the protests and Lukashenko

13 August 2020, 19:29
People take to the streets in Belarusian cities. The Belarusians took their fate into their own hands. They don't want to be "sheep" anymore. What do they think about the authorities, protests, Lukashenko and the future of their country - journalists asked them.

Spiegel magazine published the reflections of ordinary Belarusians about the situation in the country, about Lukashenko, about the need for protests and responsibility in the face of new generations. One thing is clear - people have realized that they are citizens, they want to take responsibility for the country and the people into their own hands.

Maria, 33, a housewife from Minsk:

“Together with my husband we go out into the street every evening. I take a bouquet of flowers all the time. Of course, I know that the police with their grenades and truncheons do not look at what I carry in my hands. But this is how I try to show that I am protesting peacefully. We clap our hands and demand fair elections.

Of course I'm scared. On Wednesday evening, we again went out in our area among hundreds of other people. Then the riot police came with their shields, clubs and horrible grenades, they fired. Then I saw blood on the ground. Gradually, we already instinctively know when to run. We run when we see the transport vehicles approaching.

We have been protesting since election night. My parents are looking after our daughter, she is a year and 4 months old. We all - our friends, acquaintances, neighbors - voted for Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. The members of our election commission left the site through the back entrance. They did not even dare to come out to us. And we were there in front of the school, where the site was located, one and a half thousand people, families, old people also came. We wanted to know the result.

On Sunday evening I approached the chain of riot police and asked them to protect us, the Belarusian people. We are one people. We do not want anything bad, we wanted to protest peacefully, so that later it would not be ashamed if we were asked why we didn’t do anything against the fraud. How did the riot police react? Hard to say. They all have helmets on, no eyes visible. But behind them stood their boss and shouted about us: "They are here only because of money, only because of money!" I even cried. What kind of money? Lukashenko calls us sheep, drug addicts - is this respect for the people?

Of course, I am scared to go outside, but I saw how the police beat people down. But if we stop now, everything will continue. And the witch-hunt against the dissent will begin. Protest is all that remains for us.

Nikolay, 47, a businessman from Brest:

There's a war going on here. Lukashenko divided the country into two camps: the special services and the people. After what has happened now, after all the brutality of the police and riot police, they will not so easily wash off. A cruel retribution will come. They will still be afraid to continue serving. What normal person would want this?

We saw from the window how they were chasing people, all this was 30 meters away. How many noise grenades they fired. Then they began to shoot at people with rubber bullets. My wife and I went out on Sunday myself. If Lukashenko had a conscience, he would ascribe only 50% to himself. But 80% is nonsense, it's sur. He had 20%, the maximum was 25%. But the management considers us to be a flock of sheep, which can always be deceived.

On Sunday we were at Lenin Square, about 200 people. A policeman came up and asked to disperse, allegedly we are breaking the law on meetings. I asked him: “What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of the people? Lukashenko has a majority ”. Said nothing. After 10 minutes, 50 policemen came and started pushing us back. On the other side of the street, people also began to drive away. There were young people, they did not have time to run away, they began to beat them, and not one, but several at once. Then one policeman grabbed my hand, I broke free, ran away.

Then I didn't go outside anymore. My daughter, she is 12 years old, started crying, she is afraid. My nephews keep going out, they say it's for young people, stay at home. How it will end, who will win this war, I just do not know. I hope that the people".

Pyotr Kuznetsov, 38 years old, created an independent Internet portal Gomel today:

- I voted for Tikhanovskaya, like everyone in my environment, except for two pensioners. Not a single person believes she got 10%. Lukashenko himself provoked people to such a protest. If he had named not 80, but 52%, the indignation would not have been so great. Lukashenko has not seen reality for a long time. He is one hundred percent sure that he is untouchable. Take the idiotic pandemic strategy. The people were indignant because they realized that this person was not adequate, he was holding his people hostage, the whole country.

In this situation, you need to do something, go to protest. We understand that we were deceived, our votes were stolen from us. One cannot remain silent about this, otherwise it will repeat itself. On Monday, 4000 people gathered in the center, then there were fewer, mostly young people, running around the streets. At first, the security forces were still holding back, there are not many of them here, about 200 internal troops and riot police were on Monday. We also arrested people, put pressure on them: the police vehicles would either go or stop. But they themselves did not leave the paddy wagons. As fewer people went out, they became more violent.

If the people continue to protest, it is likely that the police will go over to the side of the population. If the protests stop, outwardly the situation will calm down. But if Lukashenko again wants to vote on his amendments, this will again become a catalyst for protests. The next vote will be his last.

Found a typo in the text? Select it and press ctrl + enter