6:00 pm In the event of coming to power, the Belarus opposition is not going to rescind its existing international agreements with partnering countries, including Russia, declared Maria Kolesnikova, a member of the opposition coordination team.
This declaration came as a response to Lukashenko’s manifestation that the opposition is intending to withdraw Belarus from the Union State with Russia and CSTO, and also disband all Russian military installations and defense facilities.
6:05 pm The Ministry of Defense of Belarus notified its intention to conduct prearranged military flights and anti-aircraft firing exercises, aimed at guarding the national borders.
Alexander Lukashenko claimed that the Western borders army divisions have been put on a war footing due to a coordinated external military threat to Belarus.
6:41 pm As claimed by Olga Kovalkova, the authorized representative of the main opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the coordination board of opposition, consisting of 70 people, will hold their first panel-session tomorrow, on August 19. She emphasized that the purpose of this session will not be an illegal seizure of power.
6:57 pm The coordination board of opposition held their first press conference, where they proclaimed the purpose of their work: to hold new presidential elections and a peaceful transfer of power. They stressed that there is no other political and reformation program planned.
7:11 pm Several thousand Minsk citizens started to gather again at Independence Square holding white-red-white flags. People are chanting their usual motto, “Go away!”, young people are playing checkers, and kids are holding a giant slipper with a sign “Stop the Cockroach!” The policemen are not standing in the demonstrators’ way, as they have done previously.
7:43 pm The Ministry of Interior of Belarus announced that 44 people detained for participation in the protests remain in detention centers.
7:47 pm Vladimir Makey, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Dmitry Mezentsev, the Ambassador of Russia in Belarus, exchanged views about the current post-election situation in Belarus. Among the discussed topics, were different interrelationship issues between the two countries and preparations for the Seventh Forum of the Regions of Belarus and Russia.
7:51 pm According to TUT.BY portal, protesters in Bobruisk are marching from Lenin square through the entire city. Another protest will be held there tomorrow, and the participants are urged to avoid the pro-Lukashenko demonstration, which claims it will start at the same square.
8:00 pm The strike activity at Belarusian factories is decreasing. The employees are demoralized and intimidated by the factory authorities.
The strike committee of BelarusKali, however, claimed that production will completely cease, starting from August 19 at midnight.
In addition, Andrey Strizhak, an activist of the Belarus Trade Union, announced that US $100,000 has been sent to three factories by the National Strike Committee.
8:20 pm BelTA news agency reported that the Speaker of the Council of the Republic of Belarus, Natalya Kochanova, will hold a hotline session on August 20. According to the agency, calls will be accepted from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
8:27 pm “I was wounded by a grenade explosion. My left side was injured. I fell down, blood fountaining out of my mouth; I got a severe pulmonary contusion, and my every breath spouted blood. There was a girl and a guy, and they took me to a cafe, where the “Aurora” cinema is. I started asking people to make a video with my words to my parents because I thought I was dying. Blood was pouring out of my mouth.”
This is just one snippet from many stories told to TUT.BY by people injured by rubber bullets and stun grenades during the protests.
8:32 pm An employee of Minsk Tractor Works addressed people on Independence Square: he thanked the people who supported the workers at the entrance, apologized for the colleagues who passed by the protesters with their eyes fixed on the ground. “Let law enforcement officers be ashamed of violating their oath,” he said. “Because, first of all, they swore to be loyal to their people. Long live Belarus, brothers!”
People responded chanting “MTZ!” [Belurussian abbreviation for the Minsk Tractor Works]
8:50 pm A rally for the resignation of Lukashenko took place in Grodno [the fifth largest city in Belarus]. The event gathered 15 to 20 thousand people. Some of the protesters put up a stage for the activists and musicians. Someone, voluntarily and free of charge, installed toilet facilities.
9:11 pm In Grodno, a group of protesters have approached the building of the Prison No. 1. They are chanting “Let them go!”
9:22 pm Numerous athletes have demanded the elections be declared invalid. The sports newspaper “Pressball” published an open letter from athletes and sports industry workers demanding the holding of new elections, the release of detainees and an investigation into the legality of the actions taken by law enforcement officers.
The letter particularly emphasizes that if there are attempts to pressure or threaten any of the signatories with a dismissal, “all the athletes will act in solidarity” and are even ready to resign from their national teams.
The letter has been signed by over 110 people including Olympic Games prize-winners, European and World Championship contestants, coaches, and sports journalists.
9:24 pm People begin to leave Independence Square, chanting: “We’ve come here for free”
9:50 pm The Academic Drama Theater in Brest has recorded a video message:“Violence in Belarus must stop! You cannot force people into a happy future with fear and persecution of those who think differently. “
9:53 pm Four security officers came to Independence Square in Minsk and over a loudspeaker called on the protesters to make sure that the square is clean and tidy when they leave it. In response, the people asked the security forces to make sure Belarus is clean and tidy when they will be leaving it