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Belarus launches criminal proceedings over participation in unauthorized protests

The highest number of protesters has been recorded in Minsk, Brest, Grodno and Soligorsk, according to the Belarusian Interior Ministry

MOSCOW, August 25. /TASS/. The Belarusian Interior Ministry has opened 39 administrative and 3 criminal cases in the past 24 hours over the participation in unauthorized protests, the statement published on the ministry’s website informs.

"In total, in the past 24 hours, 39 protocols on administrative violations have been opened over the participation in unsanctioned mass events. Three criminal cases have been opened over the use of violence or threat of violence against police officers," the ministry informed, adding that the highest number of protesters has been recorded in Minsk, Brest, Grodno and Soligorsk.

On the evening of August 24, about 550 protesters gathered on Independence Square in Minsk. Chains of people carrying white-red-white flags gathered along the Minsk city roads as well.

The ministry noted that no incidents had been reported during the protests. It called on Belarusian citizens not to take part in unsanctioned rallies.

Belarus held its presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission’s data, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko received 80.1% of the vote, while Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who garnered 10.12%, is currently in Lithuania. Protests erupted in the country's capital of Minsk and several other cities following the presidential vote, leading to clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers. According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, over 7,000 people were detained, and dozens of police officers and demonstrators suffered injuries. Attempts to organize strikes at several Belarusian plants were made. Rallies to support Lukashenko later emerged in Minsk and other Belarusian cities.

The opposition established a Coordination Council for the transition of power in the county. Its activity has been deemed illegal by the Belarusian government.