After the arrest of opposition activist Maria Kolesnikova, the democracy movement in Belarus called for new nationwide mass protests against President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday.
In the capital Minsk, a “March of the Heroes” will take place, which is also dedicated to Kolesnikova.
The 38-year-old had her passport torn up after her brutal kidnapping this week, preventing deportation to neighbouring Ukraine. She is now in custody on charges of an attempted seizure of power.
Kolesnikova accuses the KGB secret service and the police of violent behaviour. She has also sued for death threats and kidnapping.
The initiators of the protest call emphasized that there are many heroes in the democracy movement who would be honoured with the march. Opposition to Lukashenko, described as Europe’s last dictator, has remained unbroken since the presidential election more than a month ago.
Despite the ban on demonstrations, hundreds of arrests and widespread violence by masked men in uniform, people take to the streets every day for actions.
The demonstrations on Sunday were by far the largest in the country’s history. Hundreds of thousands gathered in the capital Mink alone.
The democracy movement considers Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who turned 38 on Friday, as the rightful winner of the August 9 elections.
The civil rights activist fled to neighbouring Lithuania under pressure from the authorities. In a new video clip, she called on her fellow countrymen not to give up the fight for freedom.