United Nations

The United Nations’ human rights commissioner said on Friday that she had been alarmed by thousands of allegations of police violence against detained protesters in Belarus.

“Overwhelmingly peaceful” protesters are being “violently dispersed” by the Belarusian authorities, Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said during a live-streamed meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“I am alarmed by the numerous allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in custody, with up to 2,000 complaints reportedly lodged by the end of October,” Bachelet said.

There have been mass protests against long-time President Alexander Lukashenko every weekend in Minsk since a disputed presidential election nearly five months ago.

More than 27,000 people have been detained since the August 9 election, Bachelet said in an address to the UN Council.

Lukashenko, 66, has led Belarus – a former Soviet republic in Eastern Europe between Russia and EU states Poland and Lithuania – for more than a quarter of a century, tolerating little dissent.

The European Union has denounced the August election as “neither free nor fair” and refused to recognise Lukashenko as the current president.

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