Protesting Pensioners In Minsk Fend Off Pepper Spray With Umbrellas
Belarusian security forces used pepper spray and physical force against protesters during an event called the March of Grannies on October 12 in Minsk. Hundreds of women chanted slogans against Alyaksandr Lukashenka and denounced police actions a day earlier. On October 11, thousands of people took part in rallies in the capital and elsewhere to demand that Lukashenka step down. More than 700 were detained, and 570 remain in custody, according to the Interior Ministry. Lukashenka claimed a landslide victory in an August 9 presidential election that neither the United States nor the EU recognize as legitimate. The conduct of police on October 11 was described as the harshest since a violent crackdown on protesters just after the election and prompted the EU to threaten further sanctions against Minsk.