Belarusian authorities have not clamped down opposition rallies with political demands
Street protests against the West-2017 military exercise, an unauthorized rally and a march "For Peaceful Belarus", organized by the Statkevich-led Belarusian National Committee, have been held in Minsk centre, as well as the authorised rally in the Kiev square in Minsk organised by the Belarusian Popular Front. The rallies have put forward political demands untied from the socio-economic agenda, which mobilized only a limited number of activists and hardly had any impact on broad population. Power officials have not interfered with the rallies in Minsk and even released Statkevich from the detention centre before the rally. The authorities aim to prevent the growing confrontation in the information space due to the Russo-Belarusian military exercise West-2017 and avoid unnecessary discussions about the ideological split in society.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.