In plain sight

Breaking news:

Unidentified masked men snatched the leading Belarusian opposition figure, Maria Kolesnikova, from the street in the centre of the capital, Minsk, on Monday and drove her away in a minivan, witnesses told local media.

Kolesnikova was one of the campaign partners of the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claimed victory against the long-ruling president, Alexander Lukashenko, in disputed elections on 9 August.

Kolesnikova was reportedly seized soon after 10am local time while walking close to Minsk’s national art museum. Three other members of the opposition coordination council have also vanished, in what appears to be a targeted attempt by the authorities to wipe out the protest movement.

After, it appears, rigging the election.

Lukashenko’s victory – in a poll widely seen as rigged – has sparked mass protests. On Sunday, more than 100,000 people marched on the president’s residence, calling on him to quit. Riot police wearing balaclavas arrested 633 people. Gangs of pro-government thugs beat up protesters on their way home.

This is very bad.

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