- Belarusian state TV broadcast footage on Wednesday of injured protesters promising never to question the president’s legitimacy again.
- Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in Sunday’s general election with 80% of the vote, sparking widespread protests and condemnation that it was rigged.
- Six thousand people have been detained as of Wednesday, with two people killed during clashes with police.
- The broadcast segment bears the signs of a typical staged confession.
- The video showed a guard asking a group of six protesters, who have their hands bound: “Will we be making a revolution?” To which two reply in unison: “No, never.”
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A state-run TV network in Belarus has broadcast chilling footage showing injured protesters saying they will never again question the legitimacy of the government.
Demonstrations have raged in the country since Monday, prompted by victory for the incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko in Sunday’s general election. His office said he had won just over 80% of the vote.
More than 6,000 protesters have been detained during three days of protest, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. Two protesters have died after clashes with police, and at least 200 have been injured, according to the BBC.
The TV segment, which bears the signs of a typical staged confession, was broadcast by Belarus 24 on Wednesday and shows six protesters facing a wall with their wrists bound.
The newsreader said the protesters consisted of four Belarusians and two Ukrainians.
You can watch it here:
This is happening in #Europe in 2020. Just terrible.
— Alex Kokcharov (@AlexKokcharov) August 12, 2020
In the video, a man guarding the protesters – whose voice is distorted – is heard asking in Russian: “Will we be making a revolution again?”
One of the protesters responds: “Never in my life.”
The minder then asks the group: “Will we be making a revolution?”
“No, never,” two of the captives answer together, while shaking their heads.
Sunday’s presidential election has been widely condemned as rigged and, in the aftermath, the main opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, briefly vanished and then fled to neighbouring Lithuania.
The election was “neither free nor fair,” EU foreign minister Josep Borrell said Wednesday.
The Belarusian government has also widely restricted citizens’ access to the internet since Monday.
“Access to all independent local sites and many popular external platforms is blocked,” Human Right Watch said on Wednesday.
Lukashenko has blamed the outage on a foreign cyberattack, telling the state-owned Belarusian Telegraph Agency on Monday that “our specialists are figuring out where this blocking comes from.” He did not give any more details.
Kieran Corcoran contributed reporting.
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