The coordination of demonstrations against the self-proclaimed Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka are being conducted openly via public Telegram channels in Belarus. Some of these channels were launched in direct response to the violent oppression of protesters following the election, while others’ online history predate the vote. The peaceful nature of demonstrations coordinated via the public channels contrast with Lukashenka’s aggressive response, drawing additional spotlight to his attempt to protect his regime at any cost.
According to the final results announced by the Central Election Committee of Belarus on August 14, Lukashenka received 80.1 percent of the votes to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s 10.1 percent. The lopsided election results, and the Belarusian people’s distrust in their veracity, has led to ongoing protests around the country. One of their main demands is to have new, fair elections, a demand that Lukashenka quickly dismissed. The situation has also led the European Union’s decision not to recognize Lukashenka as president of Belarus. Lukashenka, meanwhile, publicly stated the protests are the result of foreign interference rather than the actual will of the people.
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The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has operationalized the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news, documenting human rights abuses, and building digital resilience worldwide.