NewsBelarus police gears up for Parliamentary Elections: tackling unlawful photography and potential Threats in election drills

Belarus police gears up for Parliamentary Elections: tackling unlawful photography and potential Threats in election drills

The militia are arming themselves ahead of Sunday's elections.
The militia are arming themselves ahead of Sunday's elections.
Images source: © Telegram | pressmvd
6:46 PM EST, February 19, 2024

The Belarusian police conducted various drills at the Specialized Lyceum of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Minsk.

One such drill simulated interactions between uniformed personnel and citizens who might decide to photograph ballot papers.

"When a voter arrives at the polling station and attempts to photograph the ballot, which is unlawful, the person ignores the election commission chairperson's caution. The rule violator then gets detained by a police officer," the TV narrator explained.

Photos were used in 2020 in attempts to track votes cast by opposition supporters. Hence, the police emphasized that such actions will not be tolerated.

The police also rehearsed a scenario where a suspicious bag found outside the venue (signifying a potential bomb threat), and an unauthorized drone flight in the airspace on election day had to be dealt with.

The last demonstrated scene depicts the police intervention during protests and ensuing riots in the queue outside the polling station. Unmarked police vans corralled the protesters, fights broke out, and anti-terrorist units stormed the polling station where a gunman was present.

While no specifics were given about who might instigate these riots, the chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Ivan Kubrakov, who was supervising the exercises, provided some hints in his remarks.

We are accounting for scenarios that officers might not always be prepared for. Predicting all possible occurrences isn't feasible. We all witnessed the events of 2020... There were instances we could hardly believe: an attack on the election commission, an attack on an officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs," said Kubrakov.

Upcoming "non-elections" on Sunday

In August 2020, the Central Election Commission announced that Aleksandr Lukashenko had won against the opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. This sparked street protests, with thousands of participants demanding the release of the actual voting results.

These gatherings morphed into peaceful protests involving thousands of participants, which persisted until November. The protests were eventually quelled. Since then, many Belarusians have migrated to the West while repression continues against their families and everyone opposing the regime in the country.

No surprising outcomes are anticipated in Sunday's voting. None of the opposition parties were permitted to participate in the elections. Moreover, in 2023, they were outlawed by a court ruling.

Due to this, many people refer to the upcoming Belarusian elections as "non-elections".

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