Speed Reads

belarus protests

Belarus cuts off internet as EU says it's considering action in response to disputed election

In an attempt to disrupt nationwide protests following this week's disputed election, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko cut off internet across the country, forcing demonstrators to use VPNs and proxies to get online and share whatever news they can, The Guardian reports.

Katsiaryna Shmatina, a political analyst at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, called the move "unprecedented" and said that while the internet has been blocked in the past in Belarus, the current ban has been longer and more aggressive than in previous years.

The European Union, meanwhile, is prepared to take action — likely meaning sanctions — against Minsk, noting the elections were neither "free nor fair" and describing the actions taken against protesters as violent and unjustified.

Several other European countries, including Ireland, Lithuania (where Lukashenko's challenger Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is staying for safety reasons), and the other Nordic and Baltic states have spoken out against Lukashenko's response. Read more at The Guardian.