Police in Belarus on Monday summoned Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich for questioning in connection with her support for political opponents to incumbent strongman Alexander Lukashenko.
During the day, two other opposition figures were detained. Olga Kovalkova and Sergei Dylevsky were arrested outside the Minsk Tractor Factory, where some of the staff have been involved in an anti-Lukashenko strike.
Monday’s events followed a peaceful demonstration by an estimated 200,000 people in the capital, Minsk, on Sunday. Later in the day, Lukashenko ordered state TV to show images of himself and his 15 year-old son brandishing machine guns in the grounds of the presidential palace. He later flew over the dispersing crowds in a helicopter.
The authorities had used loudspeakers to order the demonstrators to go home, making use of the silence as the large crowds made their marks of respect to the five victims of police violence in the crackdown that followed the phony election of August 9, in which Lukashenko claimed 80 percent of the vote.
The demonstrators, including many old people, women and children, made their way home from the rally in Independence Square – a rally with no speakers and no stage and no PA, since Lukashenko’s only serious rival in the poll has been hounded out of the country by threats to herself and her family.
Also on Monday, Lithuania’s foreign ministry summoned the ambassador of Belarus to complain about a violation of its airspace following an incident in which a helicopter appeared to burst several protest balloons on the Lithuanian side of the border.
More threats and intimidation can be expected this week, with the president who refuses to leave office after 26 years claiming that western European countries are ready to invade the fatherland.
PHOTO: Belarusian state TV