Home World Belarus unrest: Protesters mark jailed activist Sergei Tikhanovsky’s birthday

Belarus unrest: Protesters mark jailed activist Sergei Tikhanovsky’s birthday


Protesters in Belarus have collected outside the house a prison to mark the birthday of the jailed spouse of the country’s major opposition determine as anger mounts over a disputed election.

Sergei Tikhanovsky, who has just turned 42, was imprisoned along with other rivals of President Alexander Lukashenko in advance of the 9 August poll.

His spouse Svetlana Tikhanovskaya ran in his location but later on fled to Lithuania.

She reportedly secured about 10% of the vote, and Mr Lukashenko much more than 80%.

There were being no impartial observers. The opposition has held day by day due to the fact protests in excess of the previous 10 times, alleging significant vote-rigging.

Hundreds of protesters have been wounded and two have died in clashes with law enforcement. Thousands have been arrested, and quite a few have spoken of torture at the hands of safety forces.

Mr Lukashenko, who has led Belarus because 1994, insists he has received quite and has ruled out holding another election.

What happened on Tuesday?

Hundreds of opposition supporters gathered outdoors the jail in the cash, Minsk, where Mr Tikhanovsky is currently being detained on expenses of inciting violence.

Quite a few held pink-and-white balloons – the colors of the opposition – and sang “happy birthday”.

Ms Tikhanovskaya, 37, explained her husband was paying out his birthday in jail due to the fact of “a crime he did not commit”.

“All of this blatant lawlessness and injustice reveals how this rotting program functions, in which just one person controls almost everything, just one person who has held the region in concern for 26 a long time, a single particular person who robbed Belarusians of their decision,” she explained in a online video message.

Belarus opposition activists hold a portrait of opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, 17 August 2020
Image captionMany protesters regard Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the legitimately elected president

Ms Tikhanovskaya says that where by ballots had been appropriately counted, her share of the vote ranged from 60% to 70%.

In another video message released on Monday, she explained she was all set to come to be a “national leader” to restore peace and prepare for new elections.

How robust is the tension on Lukashenko?

On Sunday, a lot more than 100,000 people gathered in Minsk for the most significant protest held in Belarus due to the fact it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

Strike action is also trying to keep up the stress on the president. Point out Tv and crucial factories have been influenced and on Tuesday postal personnel reportedly joined the strikes.

A number of officials, as very well as latest and previous law enforcement officers, have resigned.

On a check out to a tractor plant on Monday, Mr Lukashenko defended the formal election tally, telling staff: “We held the election. Right up until you destroy me, there will be no other election.”

But as he spoke, several in the viewers booed him and chanted “leave”.

The 65-12 months-old strongman – who has known as the opposition “rats” – remains defiant.

He has taken care of near relations with neighbouring Russia, on which Belarus seriously depends for electricity supplies.

What is going on internationally?

EU leaders are to keep an unexpected emergency video summit on Wednesday. EU foreign ministers agreed past 7 days to get ready new sanctions against Belarusian officers responsible for “violence, repression and the falsification of election results”.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to President Vladimir Putin of Russia. In a cellphone get in touch with, she said the Belarusian govt ought to launch political prisoners and start out a dialogue with the opposition.

Mr Putin informed Ms Merkel that foreign interference would only escalate the crisis.

On Monday, the Uk mentioned it did not acknowledge the benefits of the “fraudulent” election and US President Donald Trump stated his administration was pursuing the “terrible situation” in Belarus intently.

President Lukashenko has sought Russian assist, saying Mr Putin has promised to provide detailed guidance in the function of any external navy menace.

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