Amid the growth in the Black Lives Matter movement and the recent protests related to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others, there has been a growing counter-protest movement centered around the police force with the slogans “Blue Lives Matter” and “Back the Badge,” among other variations.
A Russian Orthodox official has accused the US of inciting inter-Christian division in Belarus and “deliberately expos[ing]” Catholics in the country.
Russia has alleged that the US is meddling in the religious affairs of Belarus amid anti-government protests in the country.
Belarus’ State Border Guard Committee says the barring of the leader of Belarusian Catholics, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, from entering the country is due to the fact that his passport had been annulled.
On August 31, Belarusian border security officers denied a Belarusian citizen, Archbishop Tadeush Kandrusievich, the head of the Catholic Church, return into the country.
Following worrying developments in Belarus, Msgr. Marc Stenger (Co-President of Pax Christi International) has sent a letter to Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, expressing deep concern over escalating tensions in the country.
As riot police moved in to break up a demonstration in Minsk on August 26 to push demands for the ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka [in Belarusian; in Russian, Lukashenko – ed.] following his disputed reelection, protesters scrambled.
European Bishops have appealed for the “immediate” return of the Archbishop of Minsk to Belarus.
Belarusian authorities have barred Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz from entering the country a day after the head of the Catholic Church in Belarus warned the nation’s political crisis could lead to civil war.
“Belarus is going through a difficult time, which, unfortunately, is being marked by bloodshed and by the thousands of civilians who have been arrested and brutally beaten”.
The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan Epifaniy, has supported the protests in Belarus and called on the Belarusian people to “protect their dignity and freedom [and] the democratic and independent future of their country”.
Deadly clashes continued into their fourth night across Belarus.
Unrest is continuing in Belarus despite the departure of top opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanouskaya for neighbouring Lithuania.