Belarusian parliament passes several amendments that severely restrict civil rights and freedom of information
In August of 2020 thousands of Belorussians have started a protest movement against the results of the elections because they believed that the official results of a presidential election that handed authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka his sixth consecutive term were rigged. Since then more than 33 thousand people have been arrested for participating in demonstrations against the current regime, many of them beaten and even tortured. On 2 of April 2021 Belorussian lawmakers approved amendments to the laws on extremism and mass media which marks as “extremism” any activities by individuals, political parties, or domestic or international organisations defined as damaging independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty, the basis of the constitutional order, and public safety. Based on these changes, among other infringements on civil rights, authorities will be able to limit access to independent news-sources, prevent individual lawyers and private firms from defending people in some criminal and administrative cases, and allow law enforcement officers to use firearms at their own discretion without waiting for a command from supervisors.