A group of hackers has leaked on Saturday the names and personal details of more than 1,000 high-ranking Belarusian police officers in response to violent police crackdowns against anti-government demonstrations.
The leaked data included names, dates of birth, and the officers' departments and job titles.
Details for 1,003 police officers were leaked via a Google spreadsheet, with most of the entries being for high-ranking officers, such as lieutenants, majors, and captains.
The hackers provided the data to independent Belarusian news agency Nexta, which published an unredacted version on Saturday on its official Telegram channel.
The news agency, which gained popularity with anti-Lukashenko protesters after exposing police brutality during the country's recent anti-government demonstrations, asked followers to help verify the list's accuracy, but also help expand it with additional details.
"If you know facts about the crimes of specific people on the list, as well as their personal information (addresses, phones, car numbers, habits, mistresses/lovers) - write to the bot [REDACTED]," Nexta said.
"If the detentions continue, we will continue to publish data on a massive scale," the news agency added. "No one will remain anonymous under a balaclava."
In a statement published on its website on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed the leak, but also warned that they plan to find and prosecute the hackers and leakers. The website was then taken down with a DDoS attack, according to statements made by various self-proclaimed hackers on Twitter.
Belarus has been in near-total turmoil since Aug. 9, after results for the presidential election race were announced. Officials said incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won a sixth term in office with around 80% of the votes. Opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya accused the current regime of massive fraud and claimed victory with at least 60% of the votes. She eventually fled the country, fearing for her physical safety.
Massive protests erupted on the night of the election and continued throughout the past two months. The demonstrations had massive turnouts despite a violent crackdown from police forces.
On-the-ground reports and videos uploaded on social media showed police forcers beating protesters or randomly arresting people on the street, even when they were not protesting.
Detainees and their families accused the Minsk government of intimidation, torture, rape, and even murder. On September 1, the United Nations said it received more than 450 reports of human rights violations by Belarusian police forces in August alone.
Currently, the Belarusian police and military are the only forces still keeping President Lukashenko in power. From abroad, Tsikhanouskaya has asked police and military leadership to step aside.
In spite of a brutal police crackdown, protests have continued like clockwork in Minsk and the major cities. New protests are planned for today, Sunday, September 20. Protests were also held on Saturday, with police forces arresting more than 200 women during an all-women anti-government march.