Belarus

Belarus protesters rally again as opposition reaches out to Biden

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Belarus protesters rally again as opposition reaches out to Biden

PROTESTS. Law enforcement officers detain a man during an opposition rally called "the March of Democracy" to protest against the Belarus presidential election results in Minsk, on November 8, 2020.

Stringer/AFP

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya says the US presidential election was a 'real race of ideas, programs, and teams'

Protesters gathered in Belarus Sunday, November 8, for the latest in weeks of unprecedented demonstrations against strongman Alexander Lukashenko, with the opposition leader saying she hopes to soon meet with US President-elect Joe Biden.

For 3 months running, tens of thousands have taken to the streets of Belarus on Sundays to protest against the disputed re-election of Lukashenko, who has been in power for more than two decades.

Lukashenko’s opponents are demanding he hand power to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a political novice who ran against Lukashenko in the August 9 presidential race.

Several thousand protesters joined a march in central Minsk on Sunday, with rights group Viasna reporting that over 30 people have been detained.

Police vans and water cannons had been deployed to the centre of the city.

An Agence France-Presse journalist in the capital Minsk reported that mobile internet access was restricted in the city centre. As in previous weeks several metro stations in the city were closed. 

From exile in Lithuania, Tikhanovskaya said protests would continue “until victory” and that the past 90 days had shown authorities they had “lost legitimacy and power.”

“The regime doesn’t want to give us the right to decide what will happen next to our country,” Tikhanovskaya wrote on her Telegram channel on Sunday.

Tikhanovskaya, 38, says she was the true winner of the presidential poll and has gained the support of several Western leaders, who have refused to recognize the election results. 

On Saturday, November 7, she congratulated Biden and said she hopes to meet with the newly elected president.

“This was a real race of ideas, programs, and teams, unlike Belarus, where votes at elections were simply stolen, in the United States the vote of every voter was taken into account,” she said.

She said she believed Biden will “soon meet with the fairly elected president of the new, free Belarus.”

Democrat Biden has previously voiced support for the Belarusian opposition and promised he would expand sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime. 

The European Union has already sanctioned Lukashenko, 66, and several of his allies, imposing a travel ban and asset freezes. 

With Lukashenko refusing to step down and the opposition unable to force his resignation, the political situation appears to have reached an impasse. – Rappler.com

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