Belarus in the news

Reports of Lukashenko’s barbarism are finally making it into the mainstream press. Max Seddon reports from Minsk for FT:

Relatives looking for prisoners held incommunicado, sometimes for days on end, chanted “Hang in there!” outside a jail on Okrestina Street in south-west Minsk where screams could be heard outside.

Yaroslav… was released from the jail on Wednesday. He told the FT that riot police beat all detainees immediately after they arrived, then laid them face down on the ground and beat them again for three hours. “If someone said anything or moved, he got hit with truncheons from several guards at once…”

The whole thing makes me think of Latin American dictatorships – Chile, Argentina, Brazil – and of Russia’s future. But all these similes are misleading if taken too literally or too far. What sets Belarus apart is the size and scope of the protest movement. Brutality is met with widespread indignation and the regime loses even vestigial legitimacy.

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