Belarus Is About to Explode


KievReports are at least one protester has been killed in a night of demonstrations and clashes with security forces in the Belarus capital city of Minsk following the presidential vote on Sunday, August 9.

On the other side was Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother of two and the wife of Sergei Tikahnovskiy, who had been one of the three most credible challengers to Lukashenko until he was jailed in May. Belarus opposition figures who have fled Kiev in order to avoid a similar fate had expected Lukashenko's regime to rig the election and no independent or international election monitors were given entry into Belarus to observe the balloting.

Election day began with the Belarus security forces raiding Tikhanovskaya's campaign headquarters, prompting her to go into hiding until she surfaced a few hours later to cast her ballot.

Over the past several years there has been a slowly expanding presence in Belarus from Chinese defense and security firms in Belarus.

"Pre-election support for Lukashenko was so low that he had to be prepared to resort to the most brutal measures possible-in order to shut down a protest movement before it gains momentum. The Chinese working with the Belarus authorities are giving them the benefit of their own experience at Tiananmen Square. The overall lesson they teach is that you cannot allow a protest camp to be established and grow out of control-you have to crush it as soon as possible and with all possible force."

In voting abroad among the Belarus diaspora the first-time opposition candidate had polled as high as 93 percent.

Shortly after the polls closed, the Belarus electoral commission announced that Lukashenko had won 80 percent while Tikhanovskaya finished with less than 10 percent.

Spent stun grenade cartridges later shown on Belarus opposition channels showed them to be military-grade explosives made in the Czech Republic.

Later eyewitness accounts were that these were Belarus units engaged in what appeared to be a "False-flag" manoeuvre to sow confusion and deflect criticism from Lukashenko's security forces.

The opposition in Belarus seems to have reached a tipping point.