"Unit march". Protest against Lukashenko, September 6, 2020. Photo: Homoatrox. En.wikipedia.org 2020 Belarusian protests.

Chronicle

A female perspective on the protests in Belarus

The protests in Belarus against Lukashenko have been extensive in the autumn. During a digital seminar, three women talk about their experiences during the protests in Belarus.

In early August won Alexander Lukashenko, who has been president of Belarus since 1994, won the country's election with more than 80 percent of the vote. Extensive protests gained momentum against the election result oh the dictatorial regimen. Many protesters have been arrested and testified about a violent violence from the police. Thousands of women and LGBTQ activists are taking part in the protests, and women's marches have become one recurring elements during the protests.

A missing perspective

Feminist and queer perspectives are often lacking in media coverage of protests. IN the webinar "66 Days of Civil Resistance in Belarus through the Eyes of Women", three Belarusian women shared experiences of their participation in the protests. All three women are feminist activists and deal with gender equality or LGBTQ issues. 

During the protests in Belarus, many women exploited their gender identity when organizing peaceful women's marches. The police were not allowed to shoot at women dressed in white after nine o'clock in the morning according to the women in the conversation, and thus got a unique position to get away from the riot police. 

What is right and wrong?

But not everyone is comfortable with this "sexist veil of protection" which they use in a way as protection during the protests. They wonder why they should be safe, just because of their gender. The women's marches also relied heavily on participants dressing in traditional "virgin clothes". But several queer women who did not join the white-clad women felt in a way left out of the group. 

There is a contradiction between women as to what is right and wrong. Is it more important to put aside differences of opinion in order to unite around a peaceful symbol of a "virgin", even if it excludes some? Or is it more important to stand up for one's identity during a stormy time in Belarus? These were some of the issues that the women in the seminar discussed. 

Police brutality is increasing

Protests in Belarus continue - on October 25, about 100 people gathered in demonstrations in the capital Minsk, according to an estimate in the local media. Several factories participated in general strike which began on 26 October. Police brutality is still increasing - the police have used rubber bullets and tear gas to resolve the protests. At least 1043 people were arrested on November 15 during the protests in Minsk. It is still very uncertain whether the protests can lead to a democratic regime change or whether dictatorship will be restored. 

One thing is for sure - Belarus will never be as it once was, said one of the webinar's participants. Women in Belarus raised their voices, and the feeling of freedom is probably not something they will let go of very easily.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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