Director, Fighting Discrimination Program
On the evening of December 19, tens of thousands of people came out onto the streets to protest the deeply fraudulent elections that took place there that day.
The response of the government to the protests was brutal, even by the very low standards that one has come to expect from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, often referred to as "Europe's last dictator."
Some 640 people were detained, including most of the nine candidates who challenged Lukashenko in the election. Many were beaten savagely and injured. At least 26 individuals have been charged with "mass riots" and face up to 15 years of prison.
Forty journalists, both Belarusian and international, were beaten or arrested. Key NGOs, including human rights groups and independent websites, have had their offices searched. Some lawyers of persecuted individuals have been warned that they will be disbarred if they publicize anything about their cases.
A number of the candidates and their supporters remain behind bars, some in need of urgent medical attention. Help urge President Lukashenko to take action to stop these serious rights abuses.