Since the widely disputed presidential election in August 2020, the Belarusian regime has engaged in a brutal crackdown on all forms of dissent, real or imaginary.
Police have used rubber bullets, stun grenades, chemical irritants, water cannons and other less lethal weapons against peaceful protesters, resulting in at least four deaths and countless serious injuries. More than 30,000 demonstrators have been detained and scores of have been subjected to torture and other ill treatment. At least one person is known to have died in detention. Many journalists and human rights defenders involved on documenting police crackdowns in Belarus have been imprisoned. Opposition leaders have either fled the country or been detained.
You don’t have to be out in the streets protesting to be at risk. Passers-by, flower sellers and even people wearing red or white clothes -- the colours of the flag of Belarus first adopted in 1918 during a brief period of independence -- eating red and white candy or even hanging the red and white Japanese or Canadian flag in their apartments have also been targeted.