Good and bad protests

(Photo: BIJU BORO/AFP via Getty Images).
(Photo: BIJU BORO/AFP via Getty Images).

By Amit Roy

WESTERN gov­ernments and the media have backed protests in the Belarus capital, Minsk, against president Alex­ander Lu­kashenko, who is widely accused of rig­ging his election victory in early August.

But this moral sup­port might prove point­less unless the west is able to match president Vladimir Putin’s threat to send in military help from Russia.

It is worth remember­ing the lessons from the Arab Spring of the early 2010s when the demo­cratic process went into reverse in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, de­spite western support for the protestors’ cause.

Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter marches in Portland, Oregon, are being judged by differ­ent standards, with the protestors denounced as “agitators and thugs” by US president Trump. Joe Biden, the Demo­cratic presidential can­didate who fears the law and order issue is being used against him, has also condemned the vi­olence, though he accused Trump of “fanning the flames of hate and division in our society” and “recklessly encour­aging violence”.

Ironically, Putin said of the Belarus protests: “If this fight for natural rights, legal rights, turns into mayhem and riot­ing, I see nothing good for the country. We have never supported this.”

In other words, one man’s good protest is another man’s thuggery.