Daily Memo: Protests in Belarus, Armed Forces Reforms in China

Protesters have been demonstrating against the detention of potential candidates in Belarus' upcoming election.

Unrest in Belarus. Protests have erupted again in Belarus against the detention of activists and presidential hopefuls set to challenge President Alexander Lukashenko in elections that will take place on Aug. 9. About 270 participants – at least 80 in Minsk and about 10 each in Gomel, Vitebsk and Bobruisk – were arrested for violating rules against holding mass events and disobeying police officers. The EU has voiced its support for the protesters, saying that Belarusian authorities must ensure equal conditions for all those who wish to participate in the presidential elections. Viktor Babariko, the former head of Belgazprombank, was detained last week over allegations of tax evasion and money laundering, and protest leader and blogger Sergei Tikhanovsky had previously also been jailed. After verifying the signatures of each presidential nominee, the Central Election Commission of Belarus allowed seven candidates, including Babariko, to enter the race. But it’s likely that the protests will continue, and it’s unlikely that Lukashenko will allow tough measures that would clamp down on the protesters. He still controls the power structures, and he needs to ensure that the election is contested to avoid accusations of misconduct not only from voters but also from the West, […]

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