Over 20 news websites appear blocked in Belarus as opposition leader calls for more demonstrations
More than 20 news websites in Belarus appeared to be blocked Sunday (local time) as the opposition leader, who has been banned from the country, called for resistance against the authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenka.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists reported in a statement that the sites were blocked, according to NBC News.
One of the websites was U.S.-funded Radio Liberty.
News of the censorship comes amid a tumultuous time in the Eastern European country that has seen hundreds of thousands of protesters march after allegations that Lukashenka rigged the country’s election to score 80 percent of the popular vote.
Earlier in the day Sunday, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the nation’s opposition leader, called for another uprising following the protests in the nation’s capital of Minsk.
The U.S. and European Union have said the Belarus presidential election is neither free nor fair, urging authorities to communicate with the opposition council.
U.S. lawmakers said the Belarusian election has been “rigged from the start” and signaled their support for demonstrators.
Lukashenka has held the position of president since 1994, but said this week that he would be willing to hand over power to Tsikhanouskaya after a referendum. Tsikhanouskaya fled to Lithuania for security reasons after Lukashenka declared victory.
Since the election on Aug. 9, thousands of protesters have been detained by police for demonstrating against Lukashenka’s administration at the country’s capital in Minsk.
According to Radio Liberty, authorities have used stun grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas to disperse protesters.
NBC reported at least two protesters were killed while dozens of other demonstrators and officers have been injured.