Monday, March 20, 2006

Waiting in Minsk - II

Gazeta.ru (GR) is reporting (21:37, you may need to scroll) that the number of demonstrators in the centre of the Belarus capital Minsk is now estimated at around 20,000 - a huge increase in a very short time, and frankly, it seems impossible that the numbers could have jumped that far in the space of five minutes...

Milinkevich has told the demonstrators (there are probably at most 6,000) to "stand to the end" (stoyat' do kontsa) - i.e. until the authorities admit that the election results have been faked. Milinkevich has also made another appeal - anyone who can manage to bring hot tea for the demonstrators should do so. According to GR, some tents have been put up on the square - but, sadly, this could be false reporting. The wait for information goes on.

Neeka's Backlog has some commentary and links.

The danger of a provocation in this tense and media-oriented situation is obviously ever-present.

It seems likely that the police will shortly break up the demonstration. Let's hope it doesn't happen.

Lenta.ru now says that

Правоохранительные органы Белоруссии будут привлекать к административной ответственности организаторов несанкционированных акций в центре Минска, передает в понедельник агентство "Интерфакс".

Also, there's a large picture of blue tents, and then repeated accounts of threats by the authorities to punish the demonstrators. Thankfully, the anticipated attack by "riot police" hasn't taken place at this time.

It's nearly over. No, it isn't.
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