Belarus protesters use vehicles to block police from demonstrations over 'rigged election'

Published by OBSERVERS.FRANCE24.COM

Protesters took to the streets amid a strong police presence in the Belarusian capital of Minsk after presidential elections on August 9.

Protesters fought back with defensive strategies wielding their own vehicles in an ongoing movement against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

According to human rights organisation Viasna, at least one protester was killed on the first day of demonstrations, after being run over by a police truck.

In close-up photos posted to Twitter on August 10, the Minsk police insignia can be seen on the truck which ran over a protester.

Because demonstrations were scattered in different areas around Minsk, rather than concentrated in one particular area, police used vehicles to patrol for groups of protesters.

Anticipating the use of police vehicles such as trucks and vans, protesters began to prepare a strategy for the next day's protest.

Protesters with cars were considered an integral part of the protest strategy: they could block roads, transport people and supplies, and alert others to police whereabouts.

A photo shared on the Nexta Telegram channel on August 9 encourages those with cars to help the protests by blocking police vehicles in the roads, delivering supplies to protesters, taking them to get medical care, and patrolling the streets for police presence.

Another memo circulated by Nexta on Telegram advised protesters to "Scatter nails, screws and homemade 'hedgehogs' on the roads, try to inconspicuously punch tires in police vehicles and vans of special services".

The UN has called upon authorities in Belarus to exercise restraint against protesters while also imploring demonstrators to avoid any actions that would further increase tensions.