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The Marches That Became the "Wonder of the World"

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The Marches That Became the "Wonder of the World"
Photo: AP

The major features of the Belarusian Revolution.

The street protests, unprecedented in scale, are held in Minsk on Sundays for almost two months.

Salidarnasts recalls the major features of the marches against rigged presidential elections and violence by law enforcers.

March of Freedom on August 16 was the most large-scale rally in the history of Belarus.

The cruelty of law enforcers (in some cases on the verge of sadism and torture) towards protesters against forged results of the presidential election of August 9 caused a wave of indignation in Belarusian society.

In response, 200-500 thousand people attended the March of Freedom in Minsk on August 16. Columns of many thousands of people flowed from the outskirts to the Stela.

A festive mood prevailed at the March, and it was hard not to give in to euphoria. Popular slogans were: "Go away, you're fired!", "We won!"

The March of New Belarus on August 23: Lukashenka appears with an automatic rifle

Two weeks after the presidential election, the authorities regained consciousness. The pressure was unleashed in many directions, and strikes were strangled. The law enforcers and special equipment returned to the streets of the cities.

On Sunday, August 23, people had to show whether the previous march was a one-time great rally or the protest continues.

Regardless of the gloomy weather, anxious atmosphere, and insistent calls from law enforcement agencies to disperse, the Sunday march once again gathered several hundred thousand people.

At first, they filled Independence Square and the adjacent avenue. Then, the demonstrators walked to the Stela encircled by barbed wire, and then they headed to the Independence Palace (for the first time). There they faced a cordon of law enforcers. Peaceful demonstrators did not intend to confront law enforcers. Soon, the country and the world were struck by the video, where Lukashenka appears at his residence with an automatic rifle. The tyrant demonstrated his readiness to stay in power at any cost, shooting off his fellow citizens.

The March of Peace and Independence on August 30: Lukashenka accepts "greeting" on his birthday

By next Sunday the authorities had tightened the screws even more. The law enforcers were no longer hesitated to hold clean-ups and detentions. But this could not stop the protest.

After a small-scale detention campaign near Independence Square, the security services had to let the protesters unite near the State Central Store. The column of over 100 thousand people already passed the traditional route: Nemiga - Stela - Independence Palace.

On Lukashenka's birthday, people had creative posters and chanted: "We came to our birthday", "Come out!"

The dictator did not come out.

The March of Unity on September 6: the head of GUBOPiK (Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption ) smashes shop windows

On September 6, the law enforcers changed their tactics: to discourage the protesters, they initiated detentions in the neighbourhoods without waiting for people to reach the center. On a quiet Chebotareva street, there was "almost a war": about a hundred people were detained.

However, it did not prevent the thousands of protesters from taking the traditional route to the Independence Palace, where they got caught in the rain.

When the demonstrators were dispersing, the law enforcers arranged a brutal hunt. Two moments were especially memorable.

In the Victory Park, the OSVOD officers rescued those jumping into the water to save themselves from riot police. On Nemiga, a man resembling the head of GUBOPiK personally broke the window of the cafe. Even the Kremlin considered it hooliganism.

The March of Heroes on September 13: the protesters reached Drazdy

The law enforcers tried to disrupt another march by cordoning off the capital's central squares and holding detentions. But the protesters were cunning: they gathered at different points and went in several columns: from Melnikaite, Bangalore, Nemiga. Most of the protesters joined forces near Minsk-Arena.

Some of the demonstrators reached Drazdy. Not far from the house of Lidia Yermoshina law enforcers used flash grenades and initiated detentions.

At another place, law enforcers used a rifle to disperse the protesters.

The March of Justice on September 20: an inscrutable route

On September 20, the protesters had to try even harder to make the march happen. When people reached the Stela, they did not head to the Independence Palace but began to show wonders of slyness, turning from one street to another and bypassing the law enforcers.

As a result, the column reached the intersection of Independence Avenue and Kozlova Street. There it faced water cannons and щеру military equipment.

There were detentions in the end. On September 20, 442 people were detained throughout the country.

March of 97%, people's inauguration

On September 27, the protesters decided to outplay the secret inauguration of Lukashenka that took place the day before. First, they called it "coronation", implying criminal connotations. Some came to the march wearing improvised crowns.

According to media estimates, more than 100 thousand people participated in the action.

The march, which took place on the fiftieth day of the protests, was also marked by a new and unexpected route of protesters. The column started from Peramozhtsau Avenue and reached Uruchye.