After new massive police violence in belarus (belarus) with one death, presidential candidate svetlana tikhanovskaya has taken refuge in the EU neighboring country of lithuania.
"I don’t want blood and i don’t want violence," the 37-year-old said in a video released tuesday. Sitting on a couch she reads the message and does not look once into the camera. Your campaign staff said that the video was made under pressure from the authorities. The biggest protests in the history of the country against the unprecedented electoral fraud under the 26-year rule of president alexander lukashenko continued. 200 injured lay on tuesday in the hospital, as doctors announced. The ministry of the interior spoke of 2000 arrests.
"The staff has called on supporters and the power apparatus to renounce violence," said olga kovalkova of tikhanovskaya’s team. The fight against "europe’s last dictator" continues, however. Apparently, tikhanovskaya had been subjected to pressure from high-ranking officials for hours in the election administration and had been forced to inform her supporters that she would no longer offer any resistance. Tikhanovskaya continues to be considered the winner of sunday’s presidential election, kovalkova said.
Employees at several state-owned enterprises, including a metal factory, responded to opposition calls to walk off the job from tuesday. Strike in the enterprises that contribute to the functioning of the ex-soviet republic is intended to break the power apparatus of lukashenko.
Earlier in the second night of protests on tuesday, there were again many injuries. Many videos showed how men in black uniforms with knobs indiscriminately beat peaceful burgers. The police again used rubber bullets, water cannons and stun grenades against demonstrators. The injured showed on pictures and videos their faces and bodies covered with blood.
The country between EU member poland and russia has never seen such rioting. The one country to live movement (strana dlya schisni), founded by tikhanovskaya’s husband sergei before his imprisonment, wrote after seven hours of rallies: "this was a historic evening". Lukashenko’s days are paid because he wages war against his people.
According to the authorities, an explosive device was also detonated in the hand of a man who was trying to throw it at special police units. This was not verifiable. In another video, a uniformed man was seen being hit by a car at an intersection, possibly on purpose.
The situation is overall unclear after protests in more than 30 cities of the country. The interior ministry spoke on tuesday of 2,000 arrests and 20 injured security forces. Lukashenko had also threatened to use the army to secure a sixth term in office after more than a quarter century in power. On social networks, however, there were also photos of uniformed officers who demonstratively took the side of the demonstrators. They were hailed as "heroes.
Commentators have recently spoken of the "birth of the nation of belarus," which, some 30 years after the collapse of the soviet union, is only now really giving itself an identity – and wanting to break away from its rough neighbor russia. Economically the country is dependent on russia. Kremlin chief vladimir putin had congratulated lukashenko on his election victory, which was reported at 80.08 percent. Tikhanovskaya was officially awarded only 10.09 percent. Her staff, on the other hand, is predicting a victory of between 70 and 80 percent for tikhanovskaya.
Democratic forces in belarus hope for support also from the european union. But a quick reactivation of EU sanctions against the leadership of belarus is currently not in sight. The spokesman for the EU eagle commissioner josep borrell said that after the disputed election, an assessment of the situation is first necessary. Lithuanian auben minister linas linkevicius announced on twitter that tikhanovskaya was safe and well cared for in the eu country and could stay there.
She decided as a mother to be with her children in lithuania, tikhanovskaya said in another video already recorded there. She ran for election as a candidate because her husband, sergei, is a political prisoner. "Many will understand me, condemn me or hate me. But god forbid they should ever have to face such an election as I did," she said. The state media in belarus interpreted this as her weakness and defeat.
Tikhanovskaya wants to continue to be active from a safe foreign country and defend her victory by democratic means, her confidant kovalkova told the internet portal.According to by. The belarusian authorities themselves had taken the candidate out of the country. "She had no choice. The important thing is that she is free and alive."Tikhanovskaya’s escape also led to the release of her campaign manager maria moros. Moros was a "hostage", according to the report, they left together.
Experts did not initially expect tikhanovskaya’s departure to lead to an abatement of the protests. "She is above all the symbolic figure and can also send messages from abroad with videos," belarusian expert maryna rakhlei told the german press agency. Tikhanovskaya had recently run the risk of being arrested and charged for the destruction and violence with deaths and injuries.
Internationally there were appeals for an end to violence in belarus. Latvian, polish, finnish and estonian ministers called for the release of prisoners and a peaceful resolution of the crisis at a press conference in riga. They supported a proposal by poland to convene a meeting on belarus at the eu level.