March 23rd, 2006


Birth pangs of democracy in Belarus.

I stand with the brave, young people of Belarus, as they resist a corrupt government and try to establish free elections in their country. 

Город наш! The city is ours! Belarussians are using weblogs, online communities, and text messaging to organize, share news and numerous photos, and oppose their corrupt government's fraudulent election. LiveJournal also has this community in Minsk, which has been overflowing with posts during the last few days. If LJ's Belarussian members are any indication, then the major opposition party must've gotten a lot more than just 6% of the vote, as claimed by the government. Belarus is a bit different than Russian, but using Babelfish still gives you the gist of what is being said.

I read a moving account of conditions in the tent city that has arisen in the middle of Minsk's Oktyabrskaya Square. It sounds like there is a tight cordon around the area that people are somehow slipping through. The crowds grow during the days and peak in the late evenings, but only a few hundred brave the extreme cold of the night. Supporters and good samaritans try to smuggle in thermoses of tea and coffee and bits of bread and sausage, but many of those doing so are getting arrested by the authorities, and are being sentenced to up to two weeks in prison. Still, the protesters are ramping up for a large protest on Saturday, which is the anniversary of the first independent Belarussian republic. Patriotism, flags, and dark blue is in fashion, whether the government likes it or not.

More excellent photos here and here.