Protect peaceful protesters in Belarus

On 30 August, Belarusians opposing the 26-year rule of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka held one the biggest protest rallies in the country’s modern history, attended in Minsk and in other cities by at least 100,000 demanding the president’s resignation and investigation of human rights violations.

In the lead-up to 30 August at least 50 journalists were detained, and several had their accreditation revoked or were deported from Belarus. On 30 August itself, at least 140 peaceful protesters were detained. Several senior members of the opposition Coordination Council have been arrested on dubious criminal charges.

During the first three days of post-electoral protests, on 9-12 August, the authorities responded with widespread arrests, harassment and intimidation, using rubber bullets, stunt grenades, tear gas and water cannons against protesters. Over 6,700 people were detained and hundreds have delivered testimony of widespread torture and other ill-treatment of detainees in police stations and detention facilities.