2020 Belarusian Protests are ongoing political demonstrations against the Belarusian government and its president Alexander Lukashenko that began after the announcement of the preliminary results of the 2020 Belarusian presidential election in the country on August 9th, 2020.
On August 9th, 2020, presidential elections were held in Belarus. On the same day, the Central Election Commission of Belarus announced the preliminary results of the elections, with Alexander Lukashenko (Александр Лукашенко), who has remained the president of Belarus since July 1994, gaining nearly 80 percent of the votes, and his main opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (Светлана Тихановская) gaining approximately 7 percent of the votes (final results: 80.1% vs 10.1%). The results were immediately disputed by the opposition, with multiple allegations of electoral fraud being committed. An alternative ext poll count conducted an independent platform with over one million registered voters revealed that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya received over 80 percent of the votes.
On August 10th, Tsikhanouskaya stated that she will not recognize the official results of the election and claimed the presidency.
On August 9th, large-scale protests against the against Belarusian government and Alexander Lukashenko erupted in Belarus’ capital Minsk and its other cities. On that day, Belarusian special police forces (OMON) were ordered in, with multiple protesters being beaten and taken into custody. Multiple sources reported internet issues with the internet connection in Minsk, with the issues continuing into the following days.
On August 10th and in the following days, protests continued in Minsk and other Belorussian cities. Multiple reports of protesters being beaten and mistreated while in police custody were made, with OMON using rubber bullets and stun grenades against the protestors on the streets. On August 10th, one man died during the protests, with another death reported on August 13th. On August 11th, 2020, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya uploaded two videos in which she addressed the protestors and asked them to disperse and stay at home, with users speculating that she may have been threatened into recording the videos. On the same day, it was reported that Tsikhanouskaya fled to Lithuania.
Starting on August 13th, worker strikes started across the country. Multiple journalists working in government-controlled media quit their jobs as a part of the protest. On August 14th, several news outlets and social media reported on a number of Belorussian police officers who quit in protest.
On August 14th, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya uploaded an official address in which she called for the Belarusian government to enter a dialogue with the protesters and asked the city mayors to talk to the citizens, and praised the peaceful protests.
On August 14th, several thousand protestors gathered near the Belarusian House of Government in Minsk, with protests and strikes continuing across the country.
The protests in Belarus became a viral subject of discussions on social media, primarily in Belarus and the neighboring countries. A number of viral posts about the protests were made; for example, on August 12th, 2020, Twitter user @renarddemoscou posted a summary video about the protests that received over 5,700 retweets, 20,200 likes and 1.3 million views in two days (shown below).
Belarus is on fire. Murders, beatings, and torture: this is how autocrats “win” their elections. Spread the word.
elonmusk</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/BillGates?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">billgates, anybody with the voice – use it now.
Share this video and link five other people. pic.twitter.com/szSnYRHvbb
— Эрвин Вейков 🤍❤️🤍 (@renarddemoscou) August 12, 2020
On August 13th, actor Jared Leto posted a white, red, and white flag used by the protestors on Instagram, writing “Belarus – We are with you.” The post received over 211,000 likes on Instagram in two days. On the same day, Elon Musk responded to a tweet about the protests, writing “Sorry to hear this. What can we do to help,” with the tweet gaining over 3,600 retweets and 41,200 likes in two days.
Concerned Special Forces Guy
Concerned Special Forces Guy or Concerned OMON Guy refers to a viral photograph of a masked Belorussian OMON officer pointing at a downed protester with an expression of concern upon his face. Taken on the first day of the 2020 Belorussian protests, the photograph has been used as a meme template, particularly on Russian-speaking social media pages.
In Belarusian- and Russan-speaking social media communities, Alexandr Lukashenko received a number of nicknames, including “Sasha 3%” (after the results of unofficial presidential support polls held in May 2020), “Lugabe” (a portmanteau of “Lukashenko” and the name of long-ruling President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe) and “Mustachioed Cockroach.”
Know Your Meme Store