After a controversial election in Belarus, the internet and cell service have been down since Sunday. For all intentions, it appears to be a move by the country’s Government as violent protests erupt across the country.
A side effect of the internet blackout is that websites and trading platforms of many foreign exchange (forex) brokers are now inaccessible to their clients, as is the website of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange, which has been temporarily disabled. However, the website of the National Bank of Belarus is operating as normal.
Official election results revealed earlier today that Aleksandr Lukashenko has won his sixth term as President, raking in about 80 per cent of the vote. As a result, this large majority has participated in protests against the President’s administration, with accusations of widespread rigging of the polls.
The allegations of the election being fixed are combined with criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and foreign policy, which had been growing in the days leading up to the election.
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In the wake of the current unrest in the country, the government has responded by mobilising police and military forces. Consequently, a number of shops have reduced their operating hours, particularly in Belarus’ capital Minsk.
Impact on FX Brokers
On Monday, the largest representative of the over the counter (OTC) Belarusian sector, MTBankFX, announced that the internet issues were causing connection problems to its trading terminals.
Today, the websites of almost all forex brokers and companies based in Belarus are now inaccessible. A spokesperson from a Belarusian FX broker confirmed to Forex Magnates, the Russian site of Finance Magnates, that its activities are only able to be partially carried out due to internet issues.
According to the spokesperson, there have been no complaints from clients yet, and those who have called have understood that the situation is out of the broker’s hands. Some customers have been able to access the website through a VPN.