Social Networking Encourages 'Silent Protests' In Belarus
A while ago, in one of the endless threads on why communism doesn't work, Wei, when asked to provide and example where it hadn't failed, provided this:
Now, we find that the "Soviet-style" dictatorship has not only not provided prosperity, but is, in fact, presiding over economic collapse and is using the power of the state to suppress dissent by jailing opposition leaders and otherwise doing the things that leftists do (or would like to do, if they had the means) to retain power in the face of the failure of the policies. See below for the details. Got anything to say, Wei?
Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei
A protester applauds as people gather during a demonstration in Minsk organized via social networks.
June 24, 2011
They're called "silent demonstrations;" thousands of people clapping their hands during weekly protests in more than 30 cities across heavily policed Belarus. The applause is for themselves, for overcoming their fear of police beatings and arrest.
That's what greeted some of the 10,000-plus people who took to the streets after President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's third reelection in December in voting many believe was rigged. Six opposition candidates were arrested, three of whom remain in jail.
This time, the demonstrators say they're just average citizens out walking in their cities' main squares. They've been organized by young activists in the former Soviet republic who've taken to Facebook and Twitter to bring thousands onto the streets to protest Lukashenka's mishandling of a serious economic crisis.
Few believe the demonstrations can unseat him, but the crisis is posing one of the biggest challenges to Lukashenka's 17-year rule.
One protester in Minsk, who didn’t give his name, told RFE/RL's Belarus Service that he's fed up with the authorities.
"We came here intentionally to protest against this system," he said. "It's time our people understand the need for change."
Since December's crackdown, the Soviet-style economy in Belarus has suffered a major crisis that's seen its currency lose more than half its value. Belarusians have been lining up for hours to withdraw their dwindling savings, while panic buying has helped fuel inflation.