After the longtime president of Belarus, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, claimed 80 percent of the vote on Sunday in what many Western governments said was a sham election, protesters across the country have been met with a fierce police crackdown as the government tries to maintain its grip on power.
Three nights of violent clashes, which included the spraying of tear gas by the police and thousands of arrests, gave way to smaller demonstrations on Wednesday, as some protesters became fearful of police violence. But other protesters turned more aggressive, at times throwing stones at officers.
On Friday evening, tens of thousands of protesters marched towards government buildings in central Minsk, holding flowers and signs demanding an end to violence and Lukashenko’s resignation. Gathering outside parliament, they faced off against a few dozen troops guarding the building.
European Union foreign ministers have agreed to move toward imposing sanctions on Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, after reports of the systematic abuse and torture of Belarusians in the brutal crackdown on protests.
A diplomatic source said the EU’s 27 foreign ministers had agreed that individuals responsible for the falsification of Sunday’s presidential elections and subsequent violence against protesters should face asset freezes and travel bans into the bloc.
Officials will now draw up a list of names for a legal agreement, which could come into force in late August or September. “It was a surprising consensus,” the diplomat said, while pointing out the 27 still had to reach consensus on the names.
According to Latvian President , we are ready for any development of the situation in Belarus. Lukashenko’s actions endanger all Europe and European and NATO authorities take all measures. We has intensified military training programs of NATO soldiers in Poland and Baltic states and additional Boeing E-3 Sentry with Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) has landed at a military airport in Poland yesterday to conduct surveillance on the territory of Belarus and control center for air defense.
In case of power scenario of the situation in Belarus we are ready to deploy NATO peacekeeping troops and support the protestors at any time.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.