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Belarus protests, Day 64: dignity vs water cannons and flash grenades
Start of the Dignity March at the Stela monument on 11 October 2020 / Euroradio
The Dignity March started on October 11 in Minsk and resulted in brutal arrests and use of truncheons, shotguns (used to beat people in the face), flash grenades and water cannons by law enforcers against demonstrators. All this happened after Alyaksandr Lukashenka went to KGB jail allegedly to discuss a proposal of dialogue about constitutional reform with political prisoners. Euroradio and many experts believe that Lukashenka actually tried to convince Viktar Babaryka and other opponents of the regime who are in prison to call on Belarusians to stop protests in exchange for freedom and dialogue. But the Belarusians did not believe Lukashenka and took the visit as an insult.
How will this day be remembered? First, 35 journalists who came to the rallies across Belarus to do their work were detained. Moreover, the press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Volha Chamadanava stressed that the journalists were not detained, but the police were just checking their IDs. But it lasted for more than 5 hours! The Interior Ministry for some reason forgets that not only journalists have cameras and cell phones. And the whole world will still learn about the brutal actions of the Belarusian law enforcement officers.
Secondly, despite the bad weather and brutal actions of law enforcement officers who severely beat people, threw flash grenades at them, poured red water from water cannons and, even, fired paintball guns, people did not leave. They gathered in several giant groups and walked around the city. And there was a sea of people.
Third, while the law enforcers were raging, the Belarusians were massively opening the entrances to houses in the Pushkinskaya neighborhood and the doors of cafes and hostels to hide those in danger. Why did the law enforcers return to the tactics used on August 9-11, 2020, in the worst days in the history of modern Belarus?
Political analyst Valery Karbalevich links this to Lukashenka's visit to the KGB jail:
"The fact is that this visit was seen by independent media and experts as a sign of weakness, as a defeat. He said that under pressure from mass protests he was forced to make concessions to the people. It was not only that Lukashenka was afraid to look weak. It destroys his image of a tough guy. In fact, the visit to the prison was a bad signal for his supporters, the nomenclature. The "Father" was said to have chickened out. To neutralize this impression, to make up for yesterday's concession, today Lukashenka is trying to demonstrate strength in the only way he understands: resorting to brutal cruelty".