Belarus Video Shows Lukashenko's Police Officers Forcing High School Kids Into Van

Security forces in Belarus have arrested student protesters in a harsh post-election crackdown, with videos shared on social media showing masked officers striking young people and bundling them into vans.

Local human rights group Viasna 96 said up to 5,000 students had marched to Minsk's Independence Square on Tuesday to oppose the disputed election victory of strongman ruler Alexander Lukashenko.

Officers arrested a number of people as they marched towards the Education Ministry building in the capital. University students had previously walked out of class on the first day of term in protest.

#Belarus. Brutal detentions of essentially kids will not be forgiven. This is how students of one of the most prestigious high school - Liceum BGU - were detained earlier today. #Lukashenko's son Kolya was supposed to study here, but lecturers reported that he withdraw his papers pic.twitter.com/H1SMJXXJMj

— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) September 1, 2020

Social media videos verified by Euronews show students breaking through police cordons as officers tried to change the crowd's route.

Separately, video shared by Minsk journalist Hanna Liubakova shows students being taken from a school and put into vehicles.

"Brutal detentions of essentially kids will not be forgiven," Liubakova tweeted with the video.

"This is how students of one of the most prestigious high school - Liceum BGU - were detained earlier today. #Lukashenko's son Kolya was supposed to study here, but lecturers reported that he withdraw his papers," she added.

She later cited interior ministry figures that 128 people had been arrested across the country, with at least 81 detained in Minsk, and one thought to be under 18 years old. "Some of those detained have been sentenced to fines, or from 5 to 15 days in prison - trials began today," she tweeted.

After the student march, a large group of women gathered near Independence Avenue in the capital city. They sang and danced as police looked on. A large group of women also marched in the Belarusian capital on Wednesday, clad in the red and white colors of the opposition.

Lukashenko dismissed the size of the protests during a visit to a university in the town of Baranavichy, saying: "This will all pass. Listen, if there were a million people [on the streets], we wouldn't be speaking with you now."

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is in neighboring Lithuania, having fled Belarus for her safety. With global criticism growing against Lukashenko, she appeared to reject western intervention.

"The Belarusian people have a responsibility for what's going on. We think that we have to solve this problem by ourselves," she told Voice of America.

"But if it happens that we will need one day the help of other countries, help in organizing this, maybe mediation or negotiation, of course any country that would like to help us with this question is invited," she added.

Belarus unrest
Officers detain students during a protest against presidential elections in Minsk on September 1, 2020. Protests have been continuing since the dispute elections last month which kept President Alexander Lukashenko in power. Getty Images