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Belarusian Protests Become More Unpredictable And Partisan

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Belarusian Protests Become More Unpredictable And Partisan
PHOTO: AFP

The format of the rallies is becoming more and more inconvenient for the authorities

On December 27, the Belarusian protests switched to an autonomous mode. They have become even more unpredictable and inconvenient for the authorities, thinktanks.by writes.

If earlier, during the nearly five months of protest activity in Belarus, the beginning of all large-scale mass actions had been announced in Telegram-channels, then on Sunday, there was silence on the air. There was no announcement of the events. But people took to the streets with flags in different cities of Belarus all the same. It seems the number of such rallies has increased. In any case, we may speak about more than a hundred protest hotbeds.

This makes the new format of protests more and more inconvenient for the authorities and the security forces, who disperse them.

First, unavailability of the time and place for gathering, and now the absence of announcement of mass marches, leads to a situation in which protests lose all vertical coordination, turning to horizontal one. This means that it is practically impossible to react to them in a preventive way (without insider information from participants in the district protests). It is only possible to react to protests after the fact. But when the protesters, who have learned by nearly five months of confrontation, are not standing in one place, but are constantly changing locations and moving, the security forces are likely to get by with occasional victims.

Moreover, the lack of vertical coordination of protests means that rallies that are not guided by a common plan will become more and more unconventional and original.

Another very important factor is the reduction in the number of people taken to the police. During the autumn mass protests, assembly points and routes were often announced, which a priori led to a large number of detentions, but during the self-organized protests the number of detainees decreased. The most vivid example of this is the detentions on December 27, when, according to human rights activists, only 23 people were arrested by the security forces. In comparison with the thousands of detainees at the rallies on Sundays in November in Belarus, this is mere nothing.

Thus, Belarusian protests are acquiring (by their form, not methods) a truly partisan character. It is not clear yet what the law enforcement agencies will do about it. In any case, judging from December 27, they do not yet have a clear tactic to respond to the uncoordinated protests.