Dota 2 pro arrested, beaten by police during Belarus protests
Belarus has been dealing with mass protests over the results of the country's disputed presidential election, and these protests have led to thousands of arrests, including the detaining of a notable Dota 2 pro.
Dota 2 pro player Oleg "LastHero" Demidovich, off laner for B8, opened up on his experience including his arrest, incarceration, and eventual release, through the team’s official podcast.
“They just zip tied our hands and threw us face-first in a police vehicle, I got kicked in the face once. They asked me to unlock my phone and asked for the password. I told them I wasn’t giving it to them. That’s why they started hitting me I think,” LastHero said.
During the 40-minute interview, LastHero detailed how he was arrested and brutalized by police officers. He stated he went to spend time with a friend during an internet outage and was approached by an individual wearing body armor who arrested them on the spot.
He was kept for three days and was made to sleep on concrete. During his incarceration, he was beaten by police on five separate occasions.
"They mostly hit me on the back, on the liver, rarely on the head. Sometimes on the legs...They put us in zipties again, they were so tight that your hands would go numb. Then it turned out they just put us against the wall and we were like that for about 3 hours in the heat, they beat us again with batons on the back and neck several times. They asked us questions, like who we voted for," LastHero said.
During his time in custody, he encountered Russian journalist Anton Lyadov. Lyadov has made a career of traveling to some of the world's most repressive governing regimes and documenting what he sees. While Lyadov made it into and out of North Korea, something LastHero and his interviewer quipped about how it turned out that LastHero's home country was the most dangerous for Lyadov.
After three days in custody, LastHero was released. He is currently free and has physically healed. He is still facing a trial on August 19.
Fans first got word that something was awry with LastHero on August 12 when B8 put out a statement on Twitter. According to B8, the player was visiting friends separate from the protests before being confronted and taken in by police. An update came out the next day that essentially said the player had gone missing.
During its first match of Omega League Europe on August 10, Andrey "Ghostik" Kadyk filled in at the off lane position. The team hasn’t officially competed since then.
If you have any additional information about Oleg's exact location or condition, please let us know.— B8 (@B8esportsGG) August 12, 2020
At the moment, all the information we know is set out below. pic.twitter.com/JOsYrfvKhd
B8’s LastHero arrested during protests over disputed election
Belarus has been rocked in recent weeks by civil unrest surrounding disputed election results. State-sponsored media stated that incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko had won a sixth term in office in landslide fashion, something that many of the country's citizens don’t believe. The leadup to the election was fraught with voter suppression issues that included a sabotaging of the internet in the country, and the government's opposition claims that some results actually show a strong opposition victory.
Protests against the government had already begun before the election, but became larger afterwards. The government has responded by beating protesters with batons on the streets and abusing those taken into custody, while also arresting those who ran against Lukashenko in the election. Lukashenko blamed the protesters for the crackdowns, and has suggested that foreign powers are actually behind the unrest.
The United Nations, European Union, and United States have all cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election.
LastHero stated that he wasn’t interested in the political issues facing the country, but rather had wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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