Interior minister faults Telegram, Radio Free Europe for ‘coordinating protests’ in Belarus

The recent protest rallies were ‘well-orchestrated’, Interior Minister Yury Karayeu said when addressing Belarusian deputies on Thursday.

According to him, the internal forces’ work was good, but there is ‘more to be done in this direction’, state-run news agency BelTA reports.

MP Henadz Davydzka asked the minister to feedback on the criticism of the agency and lots of harsh comments on the Internet.

“People who are eager to start a street revolution are very well-organised,” he stressed. As an example, he unexpectedly referred to covering the picket by RFE/RL last week.

People brutally detained by riot police outside store in Minsk


“They took the place of Tsikhanouski’s livestreaming. In the rolling tickets and comments, they were self-organising and coordinating actions with someone: ‘move to the right’, ‘move to the left’, ‘break the chain’,” he said.

The participants and journalists did not leave after the end of the picket was announced, Yury Karayeu noted. In his opinion, they are ‘demonstrationg a new type of a mass event – not a crowd, but a chain’.

“But the essence of it is the same. They are controlled via Telegram channels and RFE/RL livestreaming,” the minister said.

Moreover, on Thursday Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka slammed ‘puppeteers from Poland and Russia’ who are ‘behind spreading fakes’ about him and his family on the Internet, including on Telegram. On the back of it, Ihar Losik, a blogger and administrator of one of the most popular Telegram channels in Belarus, was detained and taken into custody.

‘Anyone but him’: Belarusians vent anger on Lukashenka (ENG video)

June, 19 was the last day to hold pre-election pickets and collect signatures for this or that wannabe presidential candidate. However, the Belarusian police detained peaceful protesters throughout the country. In the Belarusian capital, picketers formed a human chain of several kilometres; people took to the streets in different parts of Minsk; many chanted ‘Set them free’, remembering Lukashenka’s might-have-been opponent Viktar Babaryka, popular blogger Syarhei Tsikhanouski, politicians Mikalai Statkevich and Pavel Seyarynets, as well as dozens of people who have been placed into custody since the beginning of the 2020 election campaign. During the picket, riot police took away Belsat TV photo reporter Iryna Arakhouskaya, RFE/RL livestreaming crew Alyaksandra Dynko and Andrey Rabchyk (thousands of viewers were witnessing the detention online), and Reuters cameraman Uladzimir Kostsin, photographer Vadzim Zamirouski, and Onliner journalist Nastassya Zanko.

According to the human rights centre Viasna, more than 360 people were detained at the ‘solidarity chain’ rallies (as well as before and after the rallies), held throughout the country from 18 to 21 June.

Why Belarusians stopped liking Lukashenka / ENG video