In Lithuania, some 50,000 people are expected to join a human chain reaching from Vilnius, the nation’s capital, to the Belarusian border to show solidarity with the protests, public broadcaster Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) reported.
The show of support will mimic the famous Baltic Way, when over a million people formed a human chain spanning Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to demand an end to the Soviet occupation. The event also happens to be on the 21st anniversary of the Baltic Way.
“Freedom is not only a fundamental human right but also a nation’s fundamental right,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said. “It’s also a daily commitment to defend it from any attempt on it by those who would replace freedom with darkness, oppression and fear.”
“Today, time has come for our Belarusian brothers to say the dear word ‘Freedom’.”
Belarusians have gathered in unprecedented numbers in Minsk to demand the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko, who claimed victory for a sixth term on Aug. 9 after reportedly receiving 80% of the vote. Since the results, an “awakening of Belarus” has taken place, with hundreds of thousands turning out to protest and workers at state-controlled companies going on strike.
The situation has grown so severe that Lukashenko has taken to carrying a rifle outside of his home, according to AP News.
The protests have stirred up support across Europe, with leaders speaking out in solidarity with the citizens of Belarus, refusing to accept the results of the election. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has also raised concerns about the thousands of arrests that have taken place, as well as missing protesters, with further allegations of torture and abuse.
The commissioner also confirmed that at least four protesters have been found dead.
The fourth protester, Mikita Kryutsou, was found on Saturday, hanged in a forest park in Minsk, his body severely beaten, EN24 reported. Kryustou, 28, had been reported missing by his family for 10 days before his body was found.
An investigation committee supposedly said Sunday that Kryustou’s death was “not related to the recent events,” but footage appeared on social media showing that he attended a protest in the city, standing right in front of riot police.
Authorities have explained away other deaths as well, such as that of Alexander Taraikovsky, a professor who supposedly died when an explosive device that he intended to throw at police blew up in his hands.
His partner, Elena German, told the Associated Press that he was instead shot by police. Video shot by an AP journalist showed Taraikovsky collapsing on the ground without evidence of an explosive device.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.