Belarus protests: Police crackdown on ‘unauthorised’ protesters in Minsk

Belarusian police used water cannons and stun grenades against participants of an unauthorized rally in Minsk, Natalia Hanusevich, a spokeswoman for the police department of the Minsk City Executive Committee, told Sputnik on Sunday.

The country’s opposition is holding an unsanctioned “March of Pride” in the Belarusian capital.

“A lot of people have gathered in the center of Minsk, the event is unauthorized. Water cannons and stun grenades were used against the protesters,” Hanusevich said.

She noted that the police had repeatedly asked residents to refrain from participating in the unsanctioned rally. According to Hanusevich, over 20 protesters have already been detained.

In the meantime, security measures in the city have been stepped up, according to a Sputnik correspondent. Several special equipment units were deployed near the Central House of Officers located on the other side of Independence Avenue.

Armoured personnel carriers, water cannons and vehicles with barbed wire in their trailers are parked at the Sapiorau Street in the immediate vicinity of the Independence Palace, which serves as the presidential residence.

Earlier in the day, the A1 Belarus telecom provider said that the bandwidth of mobile internet in Minsk had been reduced.

“In compliance with the order of the authorized state bodies on October 11, the bandwidth of the mobile Internet was reduced in Minsk. Fulfillment of this requirement leads to a deterioration in the quality of the data transfer service or temporary unavailability of the service,” the operator said on Twitter.

Nationwide protests in Belarus are ongoing since the August 9 presidential election in which President Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected for a sixth term. The opposition did not accept the election result and has insisted its candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya won. (ANI/Sputnik

Belarus protests: Police crackdown on ‘unauthorised’ protesters in Minsk