Outside the MGM Grand in Detroit, gathered under the watchful eye of the colossal bronze monument of the steed-bound General Tadeusz Kościuszko, the internationally recognized Polish-Lithuanian military Commander and seminal American Civil War figure, a modest but determined group of supporters, ranging in ages and familial relationships, gathered to show their solidarity with those fighting in Belarus, quite literally, for the possibility of authentic democracy and the chance to live free of governmental despotism, seemingly spreading every successive decade, taking foot not only in Belarus, but in all regions of the globe.
Replete with palpable enthusiasm and maternal concern for the future of not only her two children but the country itself, the organizer Alena Tucci, wife/mother and outspoken Belarusian advocate, shared that she wanted her children to experience the real Belarus and its peaceful demeanor, “I want to show how beautiful the country is, how peaceful it is.” The sentiment that Belarus is not defined by Lukashenko’s barbarity and that the Belarusian people will not be passive in the face of dogmatism is a commonality across national and international communities of Belarusian citizens and emigrants. Following the fraudulent Presidential election on August 9th and the release of the figures the day after, Lukashenko with 80.23% and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya with a mere 9.95%, Belarusian oppositional forces exploded because the citizens knew exactly what had happened. They had been cheated out of a democratic future once again, this realization leading to large-scale peaceful protests across Belarus and the first recorded death, occurring the night of the election, thus initiating the start of the 2020 Belarusian protests. On September 23rd, Alexander Lukashenko was hastily inaugurated for his sixth consecutive term as Belarusian President, his reason being, “I cannot, I have no right to abandon the Belarusians,” his initiation met with praise by the Kremlin’s talking head saying that it was, “absolutely the sovereign decision of the Belarusian leadership.” The Belarusian-Russian relationship, however, is not to be overlooked as Belarus is, in all tense-and-purposes, owned by Russia due to their routine financial support, on September 14th promising to provide 1.5 billion US dollars for economic stabilization in Belarus during COVID. Russia also currently owns close to 50% of the Belarusian oil company Mozyr Oil, and just two days ago, according to reporting done by Belta, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko met with the Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin concerning collaborative efforts for bilateral exchange and the continuation of, “Eurasian economic integration till 2025.”
October 2nd saw the first round of draconian, media censorship by the Lukashenko regime, Tut.By, an independent Belarusian news syndicate, was stripped of its license for three months due to allegations of inflammatory content concerning their coverage of the election and following protests. Recently, on October 8th it was reported that Apple had requested Telegram, the only social media site not currently under censorship by Lukashenko, to remove three channels that had the potential to expose the identities of certain individuals, thus furthering 'violent actions.' What they had failed to realize is that these actions were a simple continuation of what first started on September 19th referencing Telegram’s channel NEXTA Live’s release of a Google document with over 1,000 names and relevant information of Belarusian police officers, “No one will remain anonymous even under a balaclava.” If you thought this was it, on October 5th, the decree rendering all foreign media body’s accreditations defunct issued on October 2nd, can be ‘repaired’ and new accreditations can be applied for under newly constructed regulations due to the government’s struggle to protect the ‘information sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus.’ Interior reporting done by members of the Facebook group Infocenter Free Belarus 2020 provide hour by hour reporting for those not within Belarus, and in the interim period of 3 pm to 6 pm, not only were water cannons, flashbangs, and teargas still being used by governmental officials, but a plethora of Journalists like Elena Bychkova, Alyona Germanovich, Pavel Mitskevich, and others, totaling 250 as of 7:52 pm have been detained. From 6 pm to 8:47 pm, it was reported that the day’s March of Honour was unsuccessfully broken up, and as of 8:40 pm evening protests have taken the form of human chains, according to a TASS correspondent.