Perhaps you've seen the headlines about mass protests happening in Belarus in the last few weeks. Or maybe you haven't. Now, a collection of metal bands from Belarus want to make sure the international metal community is watching.
The protests are in response to contested election results for the presidency of the country. Longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko won the contested ballot, and has served as leader of the nation since 1994, when it broke away from the Soviet Union. While elections were never considered free, there has been a shift in the public acceptance, with ongoing corruption and poverty. The coronavirus only accelerated these concerns.
Lukashenko once suggested that his nation's people combat the virus with "vodka, saunas and hard work."
Various opponents of Lukashenko were arrested leading up to the election, leading to one of the opponents' wifes, Lukashenko to run in place of her husband Sergey. She drew record crowds, but there was no oversight for the election, and numerous irregularities were attempted to be reported. There was an internet blackout. The final voting results came out 80% for Lukashenko and only about 10% for Tikhanovskaya. People were pissed.
Violent clashes that night led to thousands of arrests in the capital of Minsk. Tikhanovskaya was eventually exiled from the country, although she has said she is still ready to lead if the country changes course. The protests are ongoing. Lukashenko has the support of Russian president Vladamir Putin, who offered to send officers to help with riots.
This is where the metal bands come in. A collective of Belarusian metal bands have released a new video to raise awareness.
The video description reads "President Alexander Lukashenko, trying to keep his power by another election fraud, uses police and military force with stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas against peaceful protesters. Thousands of people are detained, beaten, tortured and humiliated in government custody. At least two men are dead.
Belarusian musicians call on the international metal community to spread information about violence and injustice happening now in the middle of Europe and support Belarusian people who get brutally punished for only wanting fair election. "
The video is spoken in Russian. Here is a transcript, translated to English, provided by the video.
Graphic: "In August 2020 Belarusian authorities started to shoot at their own people"
"In response to violence Belarusian metal musicians applied to metal community around the world"
Vladislav Novojulov GOD'S TOWER: "We, metal musicians from Belarus, appeal to international metal community calling you not to remain indifferent to the situation in our country"
Aleksander Volchek HOK-KEY: "After vote rigging on presidential elections in August 2020 peaceful protests have erupted all over the country, being brutally crushed by authorities lead by Alexander Lukashenko"
"In August 2020 Belarusian authorities started to shoot at their own people
"In response to violence Belarusian metal musicians applied to metal community around the world
"We, metal musicians from Belarus, appeal to international metal community calling you not to remain indifferent to the situation in our country
"After vote rigging on presidential elections in August 2020 peaceful protests have erupted all over the country, being brutally crushed by authorities lead by Alexander Lukashenko
Ekaterina Mankevech DYMNA LOTVA: "The dictator sent tactical police, army, special operation forces against Belarusian people. They use stun grenades, tear gas, shoot rubber bullets
"Those getting detained and arrested are beaten and tortured by militia, riot police and other sadists.
Artem Rydkovsky BATKA NEMAN: "We call international metal community's attention to the situation in Belarus
Deina Pragnavit: "Search and spread information about the ongoing genocide in Belarus in independent and social media unconnected to Belarusian and Russian state propaganda
Vacil Vorodechkov SAKRAMENT: "Repost this video, share it, send to your friends and metal communities! Together we are stronger! United we Stand!"