MINSK (dpa-AFX) – Despite the threat of violence by the police, the 15th large demonstration against ruler Alexander Lukashenko is planned in Belarus on Sunday. This time the action is officially announced as a “March against Fascism”. The organizers are responding to insults this week by 66-year-old Lukashenko that they are fascists. As always, the protests are banned – most recently the police cracked down on the peaceful demonstrators with arrests and water cannons.
The people in the capital Minsk were called upon to first assemble in their residential area with the historic white, red and white flags and then to form demonstration marches. The protests of the democracy movement have been going on for more than three months. There are also campaigns in other cities.
The movement calls for Lukashenko’s resignation, an end to police violence against peaceful demonstrators, the release of all political prisoners and new elections. Lukashenko claimed victory in the presidential election on August 9 with 80.1 percent of the vote – after 26 years in office.
The opposition sees civil rights activist Svetlana Tichanowskaya as the winner of the election. Tichanovskaya, who lives in exile in the EU, wants the units of the Interior Ministry, including the special police OMON, to be declared international terrorist organizations in view of the police violence.
The protests left several dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested. Lukashenko had recently shown himself unimpressed by the EU’s sanctions. He can continue to rely on the support of Russia./mau/DP/fba