Although Belarus is often referred to as a repressive state, the familiar ‘Parisian arsenal’ of tear gas canisters, water cannons, rubber bullets, and stun grenades was used here on a mass scale for the first time. Western technologies of violence were complemented by traditional post-Soviet police brutality: beating and detention of random people, torture, humiliation, and sometimes threats of rape in jail, the hunting down of journalists, etc.
None of the opposition leaders joined the crowd or made radical statements. The opposition movement turned out to be on the whole amorphous, without clear leadership at the top and any leaders from below. At the same time, the ruling elite showed no signs of a split, the security apparatus and the bureaucracy generally remained loyal, although there have been signs of hesitation at the lower and regional levels (with several state media journalists and police officers resigning).