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Belarus: Demonstrations continue after mass arrests and live-fire Risks

Belarus police said they detained 713 individuals during protests on Sunday and warned that live ammunition might be used against additional demonstrations against President Alexander Lukashenko.

In a declaration, the nation’s interior ministry stated that 570 of the detained in the largest crackdown in weeks on protesters were to appear in front of a judge.

Additionally, it stated that authorities would use live ammunition” if needed” to quell protests, which it stated were getting”organized and extremely revolutionary.”

However, the remarks didn’t deter protesters, who were in force Monday to demonstrate their anger with the 26-year-rule of Lukashenko and his re-election on August 9.

Protests have been taking place since Lukashenko was declared as the victor of the nation’s presidential election.

After breaking down hard onto the protests, jailing thousands, and being accused of torture and mistreatment of prisoners, Belarusian police resigned as demonstrations in towns throughout the nation continued to sew.

On Sunday, authorities returned to repressing protests, deploying water cannons and stun grenades from the crowd, arresting dozens.

The ministry said security forces”won’t leave the roads and will utilize if needed, special gear and battle weapons” to prevent protests which are”getting more revolutionary”.

‘An emotional pioneer’

Even though Lukashenko has used the dangers of deadly force before, individuals can take his word this time, based on Katia Glod, a political risk adviser and former election observer in Belarus.

“Now folks take his word more critically than previously, he’s well-known as an emotional leader that uses words to frighten people, instead of utilizing the strategies he threatens,” she informed Euronews.

“But following the unprecedented violence we’ve seen, people are more concerned about his words more materializing than they were previously.”

Before the election, even when he had been under stress from the prevalence of the resistance figures – all of whom are currently either in custody or in exile – Lukashenko had chased a massacre in Uzbekistan because of warning.

The 2005 Andijan Massacre – where several hundred people are believed to have been murdered by security forces – has been mentioned by the Belarusian president as a good illustration of what occurs when people don’t comply with their ruler.

However, Glod says it’s”difficult to say” if security forces will truly use live ammunition from protesters.

“It is likely employed as a hazard, an effort to prevent the protests which now pose the biggest threat to Lukashenko,” she explained.

On Monday the European Union said it was prepared to sanction Lukashenko over his repression of protesters, with not included him in its first group of sanctions.

This, states Glod, was a mistake.

“The escalation of the violence we’ve seen since 9 August, which reveals the sanctions which were enforced by EU, UK, US, Canada haven’t produced the desired result,” she explained.

“The sanctions have to be far bigger and protect all officials accountable for human rights abuses,” that she said should comprise not just Lukashenko and his inner circle, but also the rank and file members of the security forces that are responsible for carrying out human rights abuses which were observed in the previous two months.

Virtually all resistance figures are in detention or exile overseas and the government canceled the accreditations of foreign media, hampering policy of demonstrations.