Security forces again detained protesters today and fired them into the air from government residences.
Up to one hundred thousand participants in the unsanctioned opposition march gathered on Independence Avenue in the center of Minsk, reports the Interfax news agency. Belarusian mass media estimate the number of those who took to the streets even to 150 thousand or more, in this case almost every tenth resident of Minsk came out to protest.
If earlier the protesters walked mainly on the sidewalks, stopping in front of traffic lights and taking off their shoes while standing on benches, today, according to eyewitnesses, people have occupied the sidewalks and the roadway, blocking traffic along a number of avenues and streets. Observers report 50 detainees, but protesters get in chains and hold on in large groups as they try to detain them. Protesters are beginning to build barricades from road barriers in the Palazzo shopping and entertainment center in Minsk, the NEXTA Live telegram channel notes.
In the first half of the day in the center of Minsk, in addition to the police and riot police, soldiers arrived. Several armored vehicles with machine guns were parked near the residence of the country's long-term president, Alexander Lukashenko, and barbed wire was unrolled next to it.
Minsk police confirm the shooting into the air of security officials near the village of Drozdy, where representatives of the Belarusian elite live. A crowd of thousands of protesters gathered there. As Natalya Ganusevich, the official representative of the Minsk city executive committee's police department, said, shots were fired into the air from the direction of the cordon when the number of protesters began to grow rapidly, - the website of the radio station Ekho Moskvi reports . Protest actions took place in other cities of Belarus, in Brest the security forces used water cannons against those gathered.
The TASS news agency reported that Pobediteley Avenue, along which protesters were walking towards the elite village of Drozdy, was blocked by military trucks. In addition, there are riot police and also water cannons. As a result, part of the protesters turned around and headed towards the stele "Minsk - Hero City", where large-scale actions were also often held earlier.
In Minsk, mobile Internet is intermittent, seven metro stations were closed. One of the three Belarusian mobile operators reported that the Internet works with restrictions at the request of state bodies.