National unrest erupted in Belarus following the 2020 presidential election.
A non-profit organization stepped in and started providing financial aid to protesters in the form of Bitcoin.
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“Sabotage, resistance, silence – this is about us,” says the Belarusian hacktivist group calling itself Cyber Partisans.
Hacktivists are on the rise again – not the Guy Fawkes masked group known as Anonymous. These are the Cyber Partisans, a resistance group driven by the fire of activism, in a spirit of “vigilante” as they wage a battle against the powers of Belarus for the liberation of Russia. people.
National unrest erupted in Belarus following the 2020 presidential election after President Alexander Lukashenko ran for a sixth consecutive term since taking office 26 years ago. He is described as „the oldest dictator in Europe“, winning with 80.23% of the vote. A public outcry ensued as citizens believed the election was rigged.
Lukashenko was again sworn in as president in an unannounced ceremony – an unusual act since presidential inaugurations are usually planned and announced in advance as important events for the state. Before the start of the elections, opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya quickly deserted her home following the arrest of her senior officials by the police.
People gathered on the streets of the Belarusian capital, Minsk, blocking roads and sometimes chasing police vehicles from the area. Authorities responded by using water cannons and deploying riot police.
Protesters clashed with police as they voiced their dispute over the election results. The movement quickly mobilized tens of thousands of voices that marched against the state. It eventually evolved into a peaceful protest , although the security forces still managed to forcefully drive people away.
While public protests of various intensities are quite common around the world and best understood as a way to send a strong message by disenfranchised citizens. Overall, however, they can sometimes be seen as a passive form of opposition against the iron fronts of stubborn state powers.
Imagine glancing at your phone and seeing no internet connectivity. This happens from time to time when someone is traveling in a rural area with little or no network coverage. Reimagine it under a different scenario such as the turn of events described above, but with an added element: an ongoing internet outage nationwide in addition to a closed mobile wireless network for most carriers.
On Sunday afternoon of August 9, 2020, an internet blackout occurred across the country, which occurred simultaneously with the outbreak of public unrest. Mobile phone coverage has also declined.
After a total of 61 hours, the two networks were restored on Wednesday morning. However, during those long hours, a large-scale censorship of major social media sites and popular messaging services occurred.
The Google search engine was also blocked as well as en.wikipedia.org. Telecommunications companies have also started to block access to virtual private network (VPN) services, an essential instrument to defeat censorship and protect data privacy.
In addition, at the DNS server level, the visitation of major social media platforms was also limited.
When put into perspective, deliberate Internet and mobile network outages can be an effective way to disrupt communications and prevent people from having the ability to disseminate information and engage others. .
News media with inside information warned in advance that the government planned to trigger an Internet blackout during the polls. At first, it was expected that power outages would only take place in Minsk – not nationwide.
„Once they cut Internet, it was clear that they were hiding something,“ he said Michael Klimarev, executive director of the Internet Protection Society, CyberNews. He said the internet outage was expected and not done in a professional manner.