Most Stressful Saturday in Belarus

"Revolutionist" opponents protesting the re-election of pro-Russian President Alexander Lukashenko on March 19 in Belarus took their protests to the streets after police dispersed a huge crowd in the October Square on Friday.

The crowd led by opponent leader Alexander Milinkevic tried to gather at October Square but then moved to Yanka Kupala Park in the neighborhood due to police prevention. Addressing the huge crowd, Milinkevic announced the formation of a new opponent movement for the liberation of Belarus. During the protests coinciding with the anniversary of Belarus' declaration of independence in 1918, clashes took place between the police and protestors. Police detained one of the opponent party leaders, Alexander Kozulin and the Russian news agencies announced Milinkevic's arrest, but the news was denied later.

"I announce the formation of a Public Movement for the Liberation of Belarus. We are the actual winners, because, more and more people are ceasing to be afraid," Milinkevic told the protestors in Yanka Kupala Park. The opponent leader told that their number does not reach 200-500,000; however, they will continue to work and will not wait another five years for the elections. The protestors left the park, and went to the detainment center where the protestors were taken on Friday. While nine people were wounded in the clashes, Kozulin and many people from his family were detained.

In the meantime, the European Union (EU) and US announced that they do not recognize the presidential elections because it was not fair and decided to impose sanctions on Belarus; however, Russia supported Lukashenko. Belarus condemned the EU and US' decision to impose sanctions and it threatened to take similar measures.