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Belarus opposition leader urges new protests

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on August 14, 2020 - Duration: 02:02s

Belarus opposition leader urges new protests

Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Friday called for new protests and an election recount, piling pressure on strongman president Alexander Lukashenko as he faces the biggest challenge in his 26 years in power.

Olivia Chan reports.

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Belarus opposition leader urges new protests

The Belarus opposition leader on Friday(August 14) called for new protests and an election recount.

Piling pressure on strongman President Alexander Lukashenko as he faces the biggest challenge in his 26 years in power.

In a video posted on YouTube from self-imposed exile in Lithuania, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya asked supporters to back an official investigation into allegations the election was falsified.

"Half a year ago, no one believed that Belarusians could come together and say "no" to the old government.

But it happened.

We went to the polling stations and made our choice.

Legally, peacefully and with dignity." Meanwhile, Lukashenko emerged on state television saying, calmly, "I'm still alive, and not abroad." But even normally loyal sections of society are daring to show dissent.

Several television presenters and journalists from the tightly controlled state media resigned this week in solidarity with the protesters.

And thousands protested on Friday at the Minsk Automobile Plant, echoing the unrest seen at several major plants.

At least two protesters were killed and thousands detained in a violent crackdown this week.

In a rare climbdown, the government apologized for the use of force as it freed more than 2,000 protesters from detention.

But apologies might not be enough.

The European Union is to consider new sanctions on Belarus.

Ursula von der Leyen, the bloc’s chief executive tweeted, quote, β€œwe need additional sanctions against those who violated values or abused human rights in Belarus.” Russia, which has nudged Lukashenko into accepting closer political and economic ties, has expressed concern over what it says are attempts by external forces to destabilize Belarus.

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