The Cracks in Belarus’s Regime Are Multiplying
The march by between 200,000 and 500,000 people through Minsk is the clearest evidence yet that President Aleksandr Lukashenko's regime is in deep trouble. With regime insiders now breaking with it, the Belarus opposition is increasingly confident of eventual victory.
MINSK – August 14 marked a symbolic breakthrough in Belarus. Thousands of people gathered at Independence Square in Minsk in front of the National Assembly, including many women and workers – the coalition that saved the opposition in its most difficult moment, when it looked like police violence might succeed in repressing the protest movement. For the first time, the authorities did not intervene, even though this is an area where protests in the wake of the rigged presidential election on August 9 had been strictly prohibited.
The 50 army soldiers who were present symbolically set down their shields. Women adorned them with flowers and embraced the soldiers, further discrediting President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime and providing a moving example for other members of the security services to witness.
The next breakthrough came the following day. The staff of Belarusian state television (primarily technical staff, but also some presenters), an entity that had previously been utterly subservient to the government, began to show solidarity with the protesters.