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Once Crypto-Friendly Belarus Suffers Blocked Internet

Belarus, the eastern neighbor of the European Union countries, falls under chaos since Sunday when protests erupted against rigged presidential election.

Widespread protests started late Sunday evening in capital Minsk and other Belarus cities after the presidential election ended with the official 80,23% victory of the current president Alexander Lukashenko.

Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as well as the majority of the citizens rejected the official results and demanded the recalculation of votes, blaming Lukashenko for massively falsifying the ballots, reported the CNN:

I believe my own eyes, the majority was for us. We do not recognize the election results. We have seen real protocols. We urge those who believe that their voice was stolen not to remain silent.

The unofficial polls of Belarusians that voted abroad show that opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya got over 70% support, reports LRT, the national news portal of Lithuania, the northern neighbor of Belarus.

The election took place without international observers from democratic countries. Moreover, the internet and cellular connection have been shut down or under severe disruptions since Sunday.

According to the real-time internet freedom observer NetBlocks, the nation-scale ongoing disruption started on Sunday evening as numbers of internet providers lost routing when the polling stations started closing:

Lukashenko has been in power for 26 years already and is called the last dictator in Europe. The silent criticism against him exploded after the failed handling of the Covid-19 pandemic when Lukashenko offered to cure the virus with vodka and sauna.

Despite his own son supporting the opposition, Lukashenko took massive armed forces against demonstrators, peacefully demanding him to resign. The decentralized protests in various locations in Minsk and other cities continue at the time of publishing.

As local journalist Franak Viačorka reports, military targets unarmed people with pepper spray, water cannons, guns and stun grenades.

Among top crypto-friendly countries

Belarus with a population of 9.5 million is currently under the ongoing internet connection shut down. However, the Eastern-European country was among the most crypto-friendly jurisdictions up to now.

Cryptocurrencies and the crypto-related activities have been legal in Belarus since 2018. The presidential decree “On the Development of the Digital Economy” officially allowed cryptocurrency mining, trading, initial coin offering (ICO), and smart contract businesses as part of the national strategy to develop the digital economy.

Furthermore, the President of Belarus announced the intention to build a large cryptocurrency mining farm next to the Belarus nuclear power plant in Astravyets last year. The controversial nuclear power plant however is built 50 km away from Vilnius, the capital of EU member-country Lithuania, the first nuclear fuel was dumped at its reactor a last week.

The country also established a tax-free zone for cryptocurrency investments. According to Forbes, Belarus was among the top 7 countries where “cryptocurrency mining and crypto investment are considered personal investments and are exempt from taxes until at least 2023.”

The undemocratic political processes and the internet restrictions aroused the outage across the crypto community worldwide with Twitter users showing their support for Belarus people, claiming the internet is the right, not the privilege.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial legal or tax advice. Trading Forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs poses a considerable risk of loss

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