Mass protests against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko are entering their fourth month. After several weeks of toying with a softer image, the state is ramping up repression. Siarhei Biareishyk is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, working in the materialist tradition of Spinoza and Marx. His writing on the going Belarusian protests appeared in Viewpoint Magazine and RS21. His regular updates on the mass movement in Belarus since the protests began in August provide a unique insight into the dynamics of the struggle.
Hear Siarhei speak live on a webinar on November 18 alongside activists from Lai Brown from Nigeria and Let Patchannee from Thailand on mass struggles in their home countries. Sponsored by Haymarket Books, Internationalism from Below, No Borders News, Luasan, and Tempest.
November 16, 2020
100 days of revolution in Belarus.
In this time, more than 25,000 arrested. Thirteen mass Sunday marches.
Over the past two weeks, the revolution reached a new point: Belarus can now be veritably described as a terrorist occupation conducted by the government itself. President Lukashenko switched the head of security forces and police repression increased. Stun grenades and the presence of weapons has been a regular sight during the mass demonstrations. And for the first time since August, there are once again reports of torture in the jails. The occupation simply has no other resources left other than terror – the regime is on its last legs.
On November 12, Raman Bandarenka, an artist and former member of the special forces, was beaten in his own neighborhood, the so-called Square of Changes, abducted, and murdered. Memorials sprang up across the city and country – police (often in civilian clothes) systematically destroyed them.
The last two Sunday marches failed to amass in one place due to repressions carried out by riot police (internet black-outs, public transport shut-offs, mass arrests at all times). Sunday, November 15, protesters gathered in the Square of Changes, one of the neighborhood on the edge of the city where Raman was murdered. Police followed up with brutal arrests. Neighboring apartments opened their doors to fleeing protesters. Police hunted down people through the night and until the morning, knocking on the doors of private apartments, checking passports on the streets, arresting anybody who does not live in the neighboring buildings.
Medical workers have been arrested, fined, and jailed for their continued protests in the past two weeks. They are threatening to leave their jobs en masse if repression persist.
People who have received charitable donations via by_help solidarity initiative due to repressions had their banks accounts frozen.
Authorities turned off water and heating in a neighborhood of “Novaya Borovaya,” one of the more active neighborhoods of resistance. Greater society responded with solidarity, and coordinated water supplies from all over the city.
Strikes on governmental factories are growing slowly – they are hardly organized, workers who can no longer tolerate the conditions are joining the strikes on their own private initiative. Dozens of workers from Belaruskalii were arrested.
Weather is worsening and Belarus is experiencing a second COVID wave.
The leaderless protests have no sign of waning. The struggle continues.
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