Maria Kolesnikova charged under Belarus security law
Prominent Belarus opposition figure and protest organizer Maria Kolesnikova has been charged with incitement to undermine national security for her role in the demonstrations against Belarus’s recent elections, which kept Alexander Lukashenko in power. Three women, Kolesnikova included, have been leading a mass opposition movement. However, Kolesnikova is the only woman of the original three currently remaining in Belarus after reportedly ripping up her passport when authorities attempted to expel her from the country.
Over the past five weeks, roughly 100,000 people have protested on Sundays in a display of anger against the current leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Protestors believe that the election was rigged to keep him in power after an overwhelming August 9 victory. Initially, Belarusian security forces were violently cracking down on protests, however, in recent weeks there has been no violence. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the candidate who ran as Lukashenko’s opposition, claims that she won the election. She has since been forced to flee to Lithuania while the third woman, Veronika Tsepkalo, has also fled.