Belarusians who fled repression face new hurdles as they try to rebuild their lives abroad
Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians who fled repression in their homeland face the prospect of having invalid documents after authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree halting passport renewals abroad.
Belarus bans citizens from renewing passports abroad, spreading fear among those who fled repression
Belarus’ authoritarian president banned citizens from renewing their passports while staying abroad, which could force those who fled the country amid growing repression to return to maintain their travel documents.
Belarus opposition leader warns of border migration crisis
Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has called for the global community to stop a “humanitarian catastrophe” which she said is being created by the Belarusian regime as it facilitates largescale migration into the European Union.
Belarus opposition leader seeks new US, European sanctions
The leader of Belarus’ embattled opposition hopes the United States and Europe will impose new sanctions on money-making government enterprises that will lead to the collapse of President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime and a peaceful transition that pro-democracy supporters are preparing for because “it can happen very fast.”.
Belarus opens terrorism probe against opposition leader
FILE - In this Saturday, March 20, 2021 file photo, Belarus opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, right, poses for photos with demonstrators during a protest demanding freedom for political prisoners in Belarus at the Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania. Belarus authorities on Monday March 29, 2021, announced a criminal probe against Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the nation's top opposition figure, on charges of terrorism, a move that follows a sweeping police crackdown on protesters demanding the resignation of the country's authoritarian leader. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis, File)KYIV – Belarus authorities on Monday announced a criminal probe against the nation's top opposition figure on charges of terrorism, a move that follows a sweeping police crackdown on protesters demanding the resignation of the country's authoritarian leader. Belarus' Prosecutor General Andrei Shved said his office has launched a criminal investigation against Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the top opposition candidate who challenged President Alexander Lukashenko in a presidential vote in August. Earlier this month, Lithuania dismissed Belarus's demand to extradite Tsikhanouskaya, with the Baltic nation’s foreign minister saying that “hell will freeze over first.”
Hundreds arrested in Belarus 'Freedom Day' protest
People carry a giant historical flag of Belarus during a celebration 103rd anniversary of the declaration of the Belarusian People's Respublic, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, March 25, 2021. Freedom Day is an unofficial holiday in Belarus celebrated on 25 March to commemorate the declaration of independence by the Belarusian Democratic Republic on that date in 1918. The Thursday protest marked the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of the Belarus People's Republic, an independent state that lasted only a few months before the Red Army moved in. The opposition traditionally observes the anniversary as the country's unofficial Freedom Day. The arrests came a day after their leader, Andżelika Borys, was sentenced to 15 days in jail for holding unauthorized mass events.
Belarus journalist sentenced for report on protester's death
Belarusian journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich, seen in cage, attend a court hearing in Minsk, Belarus, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. On Tuesday, the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk sentenced Barysevich to six months in prison and a fine equivalent to $1,100. (Sergei Sheleg/BelTA Pool Photo via AP)KYIV – A court in Belarus on Tuesday handed a half-year prison sentence to a journalist on charges of revealing personal data in her report on the death of a protester, part of authorities’ crackdown on demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. On Tuesday, the Moskovsky District Court in Minsk sentenced Barysevich to six months in prison and a fine equivalent to $1,100. Last month, two other journalists in Belarus were convicted of violating public order and sentenced to two years in prison after they covered an opposition protest.
Former presidential hopeful goes on trial in Belarus
Viktor Babariko, the former head of Russia-owned Belgazprombank, gestures a heart symbol sitting in a cage in a court room in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Viktor Babariko, the former head of Russia-owned Belgazprombank, has been jailed since June on corruption and money-laundering charges. The 57-year-old Babariko could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted at the trial in the Supreme Court of Belarus, the country's highest. The president sought to cast Babariko's election bid as part of efforts by Belarus' main sponsor, Russia, to exert pressure on his government and try to weaken the country's independence. “That was deadly dangerous for Lukashenko.”But facing Western sanctions over the vote-rigging and the crackdown on protests, Lukashenko has come to rely increasingly on Moscow's subsidies and political support.
Belarus targets journalists, activists in new raids
Authorities in Belarus have raided the homes and offices of journalists and human rights activists. Police searched the offices of the Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Viasna human rights center, as well as the apartments of its members. (AP Photo)KYIV – Authorities in Belarus raided homes and offices of journalists and human rights activists Tuesday in the latest move to squelch protests against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. The leader of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Andrei Bastunets, was one of those detained and later released. “This is an attempt to intimidate journalists and human rights activists who have been telling the world about the unbelievable scale of repressions,” said Viasna's deputy head Valiantsin Stefanovic.
Belarus leader vows to defeat foreign-backed 'rebellion'
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivers his speech to delegates of the All-Belarus People's Assembly in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Belarus authoritarian leader has denounced six months of protests against his rule as a foreign-directed rebellion and vowed to resist the pressure, as he spoke at the All-Belarus Peoples Assembly. Lukashenko didn’t elaborate, but in the past several months, he has repeatedly accused the West of fomenting the protests. On Thursday, he said the West had incited the protests in Belarus as a “bridgehead” against Russia. Ad“It's deadly dangerous for Russia to lose Belarus,” Lukashenko said, adding that the two countries planned massive joint military drills later this year.
In winter's quiet, Belarus opposition prepares new protests
But opposition forces are preparing to turn up the heat in the spring and observers say Lukashenko doesn't have a clear strategy to overcome new unrest. But harsh actions by security forces have only temporarily muted the protests, Shraibman said. ___LUKASHENKO PLAYS FOR TIMEA $1.5 billion loan from the Kremlin and a promise to send in Russian security forces if Lukashenko requests them helped Lukashenko maintain control over the security forces and officials. During the period of mass protests, Lukashenko talked about “the decline of the presidential life” and possible resignation, but then he stopped such statements. The opposition aims to resume its mass actions on March 25, the anniversary of the 1918 declaration of a short-lived independent Belarus.
EXPLAINER: How Nobel Peace Prize nominations come about
Belarusian opposition figures, Hong Kong-pro-democracy activists, the Black Lives Matter movement, a jailed Russian opposition leader and two former White House senior advisers are among this years nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. There is no shortage of causes or candidates for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to consider for what arguably remains the world’s most prestigious prize. Here's a look at the Nobel nomination process:WHO CAN NOMINATE CANDIDATES FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE? The U.N. World Food Program won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. The peace prize and other Nobel awards are presented to the winners on Dec. 10, the anniversary of founder Alfred Nobel’s death.
Decision on Belarus hockey worlds near amid sponsor pressure
DÜSSELDORF – DÜThe International Ice Hockey Federation will make a decision in the coming days on whether to pull its world championship from Belarus as pressure increases from sponsors over a crackdown on opposition groups in the country. “If we cancel the games in Minsk, I think we should make a decision until the end of the month. This is the maximum, as we have to choose another place where we can play the championship," IIHF president Rene Fasel told The Associated Press in a recent interview. Fasel met with longtime Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on Monday, saying he wanted to use the tournament to build bridges between Lukashenko and the opposition. Fasel is due to step down as IIHF president later this year after 27 years in charge.
Belarus leader defends hosting hockey worlds, ridicules US
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko defended his country’s ability to host the ice hockey world championship on Monday by ridiculing the United States following the violent attack at the Capitol. The authoritarian leader met with International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel for talks amid calls to move the world championship following mass protests against Lukashenko’s rule. “In our country, protesters and other dissatisfied people don’t storm government agencies and capitols,” Lukashenko said. Authorities have cracked down hard on the largely peaceful demonstrations, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Lukashenko has been president of the Belarus Olympic Committee since the 1990s and Fasel is an IOC member who previously sat on the executive committee.
Pro-democracy activists heartened by US system's resilience
Hong Kong police tightened their grip on the city's embattled democracy movement, making 53 arrests Wednesday. Lee faces charges of unlawful assembly for organizing a banned pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong last year. Exiled in London, Hong Kong activist Nathan Law says the U.S. system demonstrated its resilience against mob violence. But in Morocco, human rights activist Abdellatif El Hamamouchi was excited by what he saw as a stunning failure for Trump. —-Soo reported from Hong Kong; Leicester reported from Le Pecq, France.
Virus besets Belarus prisons filled with president's critics
He accused the government of allowing the virus to run wild among those jailed for political reasons. Liava was detained while he was covering a protest in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, for the independent Belsat TV channel. The day after he left prison, Liava said, he tested positive for COVID-19, and a CT scan showed that his lungs were badly affected. He said he and four of his colleagues who were arrested all contracted the virus in custody. “We must cry out loud about an outbreak of COVID-19 in jails overcrowded with political prisoners.”___Follow AP’s virus pandemic coverage at:https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemichttps://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccinehttps://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
EU adds dozens more Belarus officials to sanctions list
Opposition activist Nina Baginskaya, 73, center, struggles with police during a Belarusian opposition supporters rally at Independence Square in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Police in Belarus have dispersed protesters who gathered on the capital's central square, detaining dozens. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)BRUSSELS – The European Union on Thursday imposed a new round of sanctions on Belarus, targeting dozens more officials over their role in the security crackdown launched after the contested presidential elections in August. Last month, the EU added Lukashenko and his son Viktor, who is Belarus' national security adviser, to the sanctions list. Thursday’s move means that the EU has now imposed sanctions on a total of 88 people and seven “entities,” usually organizations, companies or banks.
Belarus opposition calls for EU support as it collects prize
The European Union has awarded its top human rights prize to the Belarusian democratic opposition. We ask Europe and the whole world to stand with Belarus,” Tsikhanouskaya told lawmakers in Brussels as she collected the Sakharov Prize, which was awarded by the European Parliament to the Belarus opposition in October. “Standing for democracy and human rights is not interference, but it is duty of each self-respecting country,” she told EU lawmakers, speaking in English. Belarus authorities have cracked down hard on the largely peaceful demonstrations, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. According to human rights advocates, more than 30,000 people have been detained since the protests began, and thousands were brutally beaten.
Protesters in Belarus keep pushing for leader's resignation
Protests in Belarus have continued for almost four months after President Alexander Lukashenko won his sixth term in office in an election the opposition says was rigged. Demonstrators carrying red-and-white flags, the symbol of the protest, gathered in groups and marched down residential areas of the city, demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko. Over 200 people have been detained during protests, according to the Viasna human rights center. Videos of the rallies posted on social media showed security forces chasing and detaining protesters in courtyards in residential areas. Four people are reported to have died as the result of the government's crackdown on demonstrators and opposition supporters.
Over 300 detained in Belarus during protests against leader
Protests in Belarus have continued for almost four months after President Alexander Lukashenko won his sixth term in office in an election the opposition says was rigged. Police in Minsk said they detained more than 300 people. The Viasna human rights group released the names of 215 people detained in Minsk and other cities, where rallies also took place. At least four journalists have been detained in Minsk and the western city of Grodno, according the Belarusian Association of Journalists. On Friday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that the situation with human rights in Belarus is getting worse.
Over 300 detained in Belarus during anti-government protests
KYIV – A human rights group in Belarus says over 300 people have been detained during Sunday protests against the country’s authoritarian president, who won his sixth term in office in a vote widely seen as rigged. The protests took place in Minsk, the capital, and other cities and attracted thousands of people. Nearly 250 demonstrators were detained in Minsk alone, police said. More than 300 people have been detained all across the country, according to the group. “I will support everyone who takes part in the Neighbors' March this Sunday,” Tsikhanouskaya said in a video statement.
Belarus pensioners march demanding leader's resignation
Belarusian pensioners wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus attend an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Large crowds of retirees have protested in the Belarusian capital to demand the resignation of the country's authoritarian leader who won his sixth term in office in a disputed election. Over 2,000 pensioners marched down a central avenue in Minsk in what has turned into a regular Monday rally. Mass protests gripped Belarus since official results from the Aug. 9 presidential election gave President Alexander Lukashenko a landslide victory over his widely popular opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Belarus' Interior Ministry said Monday that 345 people were detained during protests across the country a day earlier.
Retirees protest Belarus leader on 100th day since vote
“Lukashenko, you and my children will remember this disgrace,” said one of the banners the retirees carried. Such protests have roiled Belarus ever since the Aug. 9 election handed Lukashenko a crushing victory over his widely popular opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. According to human rights advocates, over 19,000 people have been detained since the election. The Interior Ministry said over 700 people were detained Sunday across the country, while the Viasna human rights center put the figure at 1,291. Support media (and) human rights defenders.
Club-wielding police in Belarus arrest over 500 protesters
Police detain a man during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo)KYIV – Club-swinging police went after demonstrators in Belarus' capital who were demanding the resignation of the country’s authoritarian president on Sunday, the 90th consecutive day of protests. The human rights organization Viasna said 548 people were arrested in all, including well-known model Olga Khizhinkova, a former Miss Belarus. The wave of protests, unprecedented in their size and duration, began after the Aug. 9 election that official results say gave President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term in office. In these 90 days, Belarusians made the regime understand that they have lost legitimacy and authority,” she said.
Disabled hold rally in Belarus to demand president step down
(AP Photo/Ronald Zak)KYIV – More than 200 disabled people rallied in Belarus' capital Thursday, continuing a nearly three-month wave of protests triggered by the disputed reelection of the country's authoritarian leader. They demonstrated in Minsk’s central avenue chanting “Go away!” and “Your time is over!” to demand President Alexander Lukashenko’s resignation. The United States and the European Union have rejected the Belarusian vote as neither free nor fair and introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials accused of involvement in vote-rigging and the post-election crackdown. Tsikhanouskaya, who moved to Lithuania after the vote under pressure from Belarusian authorities, has pushed for Lukashenko's resignation and a new election. “We want to see the country as it was before the election,” Lukashenko said at an award ceremony on Thursday.
Western nations decry Belarus crackdown at UN rights review
Police detain a demonstrator during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Police used stun grenades and fired warning shots in the air to break up the crowds. Over 15,000 people have been detained since the election, and rights activists say over 100 of them are political prisoners. French ambassador Francois Rivasseau said France remained “extremely concerned” by the rights situation in Belarus, calling on its government to release all people held arbitrarily. Belarus ambassador Yury Ambrazevich said there was a “complex situation” in his country after the presidential elections, and said officials in Belarus had already discussed them.
Thousands protest in Belarus amid continued crackdown
People help a woman after she collided with a police during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. at Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who won his sixth term in an Aug. 9 election that is widely seen as rigged. Police detained over 250 people in Minsk and other Belarusian cities where protests were held Sunday, according to the Viasna center. They said the move was intended to stem the spread of the coronavirus, although officials previously accused neighboring countries of trying to destabilize Belarus. Foreigners, however, are allowed to travel into Belarus via the Minsk National Airport.
Nearly 3 months after vote, Belarus protests still go strong
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has relied on massive arrests and intimidation tactics to hold on to power despite nearly three months of protests sparked by his re-election to a sixth term, but continuing protests have cast an unprecedented challenge to his 26-year rule. By putting forward an ultimatum to Lukashenko to resign by Oct. 25 or face the strike, Tsikhanouskaya has managed to mobilize and re-invigorate her supporters after nearly three months of protests. About 200,000 demonstrators flooded the Belarusian capital last Sunday, one of the biggest rallies since the protests began. The Kremlin has backed Lukashenko amid Western pressure and provided a $1.5-billion loan to help refinance Belarus' debt to Russia. “Lukashenko has failed to quash the protests in nearly three months, and that shows the scale of discontent in the country and pushes the Kremlin to search for new scenarios and partners in Belarus,” Karbalevich said.
Belarus shuts its borders, Lukashenko reshuffles officials
Belarus' Border Control Committee said the closure of borders with Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine is intended to stem the coronavirus infection. The move, however, follows Belarusian officials' claims that its neighbors have tried to destabilize the situation in the country. The border with Belarus' giant eastern neighbor, Russia, has remained open. Tsikhanouskaya charged that the Belarusian government's decision to shut the border and a reshuffle of top officials reflected Lukashenko's nervousness. “The closure of the borders and the latest appointments signal the weakening of his authority,” Tsikhanouskaya said, commenting on Lukashenko's latest moves.
Belarus minister says police could use guns during protests
In a YouTube interview released Wednesday, Interior Minister Yuri Karayev said he thinks that police have been too tolerant of protesters and that they will take a tougher line. Since the country's Aug. 9 presidential election, Belarus has been rocked by the largest and most sustained protests in President Alexander Lukashenko’s 26-year rule. The strike, however, has failed to get enough traction to stymie production at major state-run plants and factories that make up the core of the Belarus economy. Amid the pressure from protesters, Lukashenko has maneuvered to buy time by promising a constitutional overhaul that could trim his powers. Belarus' State Security Committee, which still goes by the Soviet-era name KGB, accused him of conspiring to stage mass riots.
Strikers in Belarus press for authoritarian leader's ouster
People, most of them pensioners, wave bunches of flowers during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Students in some universities refused to attend lectures and marched in Minsk in protest. Several thousand retirees also marched in Minsk in their regular Monday protest to demand Lukashenko's ouster. The Viasna human rights center said more than 300 people were detained in different parts of Belarus throughout the day. Smaller protests also took place in other cities, and the Interior Ministry said it detained over 500 people across Belarus.
Thousands protest as Belarus leader faces demands deadline
People with old Belarusian national flags march during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. Rallies also took place in other cities in Belarus, and police detained scores of people across the country. In a statement from Vilnius, Tsikhanouskaya expressed support for the protesters in Belarus and said the deadline for authorities expires at 11:59 p.m. (2059 GMT) on Sunday. “If the demands are not met, Belarusians will start the national strike,” Tsikhanouskaya said. Tsikhanouskaya's calls for a strike fueled the protest and turned up the pressure on Lukashenko, commentators said.
EU awards human rights prize to Belarus opposition
The European Union has awarded its top human rights prize to the Belarus opposition movement and its leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya for their challenge to President Alexander Lukashenko's long hard-line reign. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)BRUSSELS – The European Union on Thursday awarded its top human rights prize to the Belarus opposition movement and its leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, for their challenge to President Alexander Lukashenko’s long, hard-line reign. During a speech at the European Parliament, president David Sassoli praised the Sakharov Prize laureates for their “courage, resilience and determination." Tsikhanouskaya, Lukashenko’s main challenger, got 10% of the vote. The EU award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Retirees rally in Belarus against authoritarian president
People, most of them elderly women, walk during an opposition rally in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. The elderly rallied in Minsk once again on Monday to demand resignation of the country's President Alexander Lukashenko, as mass protests triggered by a disputed election continue to rock Belarus. (AP Photo)KYIV – About 3,000 retirees rallied in the Belarusian capital of Minsk for a third straight Monday to demand the resignation of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko as mass protests of a disputed election continue to roil the country. “How many grandmas should it take to oust one grandpa?” said one banner held by the protesters, referring to the 66-year-old president. Local media reported that some had been bused to the rally in what appeared to be an organized effort.
Over 50,000 march in Belarus against authoritarian leader
People with old Belarusian national flags march during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. Tens of thousands rallied in Minsk once again on Sunday, demanding the resignation of the country's authoritarian leader. (AP Photo)KYIV – Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Belarus' capital on Sunday, demanding the ouster of the country's authoritarian leader who won his sixth term in office in an election widely seen as rigged. More than 50,000 people took part in the rally in Minsk, according to the Viasna human rights center. “If our demands aren’t fulfilled by Oct. 25, the entire country will peacefully take to the streets,” Tsikhanouskaya said in a statement.
Belarus opposition leader threatens nationwide strike
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, former candidate for the Belarus' presidential elections speaks to the members of press following her meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron pushed for European mediation in Belarus political crisis after a meeting with the countrys opposition leader. “On Oct. 26, a national strike of all enterprises will begin, all roads will be blocked, sales in state-owned stores will collapse. In a separate statement, the council called for Belarusian law enforcement and security forces to disobey orders that involved violence towards peaceful protesters. “Violence doesn't solve any problems and paves a direct way to unleashing a civil war in the country,” the statement read.
Belarus ramps up crackdown on protests, detains over 700
Elderly women hold flowers during an opposition rally to protest the official presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. In the first days of the protests, Belarusian authorities cracked down brutally on protesters, with police detaining thousands and beating scores. Over 40 journalists were detained over the weekend, 25 of them in Minsk, the Belarusian Association of Journalists said. Fifteen Belarusian journalists in Minsk face up to 15 days of administrative arrest for disobeying police officers. EU officials on Monday said they saw no improvement in Belarus and were ready to impose further sanctions on top Belarus officials, including Lukashenko.
Rights group: Scores detained during protests in Belarus
(AP Photo)KYIV – Scores of people were detained in Belarus on Sunday during protests against the country’s authoritarian leader, who won his sixth term in office in a vote widely seen as rigged, a Belarusian rights group said. The group released a list of protesters detained across the country on its website that by Sunday evening had more than 300 names on it. Mass protests have rocked Belarus for over two months, with the largest ones held on Sundays and drawing up to 200,000 people. In the first days of the protests, Belarusian authorities cracked down brutally on protesters, with police detaining thousands and injuring scores with truncheons, rubber bullets and stun grenades. At least 35 journalists have been detained during protests on Sunday, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
Lithuania holds national vote, coalition talks expected
People wear face masks to protect against coronavirus as they cast their ballots during the parliamentary elections in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. Polls opened Sunday for the first round of national election in Lithuania, where voters will renew the 141-seat parliament and the ruling four-party coalition is widely expected to face a stiff challenge from the opposition to remain in office. Results were expected by early Monday, but the commission said there might be delays in counting because of early voting by citizens and strict coronavirus measures. Marija Kazlauskiene, a 75-year-old retiree, said she prefers the ruling coalition. Lithuania has granted shelter to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled Belarus after challenging President Alexander Lukashenko in the country’s Aug. 9 presidential vote.
Lithuanians to choose new parliament amid virus tensions
(AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)VILNIUS – Lithuanian voters will choose a new parliament Sunday for a nation that has seen a recent surge in COVID-19 cases and whose center-right coalition government has faced strong criticism over soaring virus-related unemployment. Others say the strict health regulations focused on fighting the virus left thousands of other patients without proper access to health services. Supporters of the ruling coalition say this coastal Baltic country was among the lucky ones that suffered relatively lightly in the pandemic. Lithuania has granted shelter to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled Belarus after challenging President Alexander Lukashenko in the country's Aug. 9 presidential vote. Officials said Lukashenko won a sixth term in office but opposition members say the election was riddled with fraud.
Belarus' leader claims he saved opposition challenger's life
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko delivers a speech during his inauguration ceremony at the Palace of the Independence in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. Lukashenko of Belarus has assumed his sixth term of office in an inauguration ceremony that wasn't announced in advance. State news agency BelTA reported that Wednesday's ceremony is taking place in the capital of Minsk, with several hundred top government official present. Tsikhanouskaya's spokeswoman, Anna Krasulina, rejected Lukashenko's claims, saying that she was pressured by the authorities to leave the country. However, massive demonstrations have continued, reaching their peak numbers on Sundays when up to 100,000 flood the streets of the Belarusian capital, Minsk.
Over 100,000 march in Belarus against authoritarian leader
Police use a water cannon toward demonstrators during a rally in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting daily since the Aug. 9 presidential election. (AP Photo)KYIV – More than 100,000 people marched in Belarus' capital on Sunday to protest against the country's authoritarian leader, who won his sixth term in office in an election widely seen as rigged. Mass protests have rocked Belarus for almost two months, with the largest rallies taking place on Sundays and drawing up to 200,000 people. Viasna released a list of detained protesters on its website that by Sunday evening had over 160 names on it.
Belarus, Russia announce retaliatory sanctions against EU
Russia said it would also follow Belarus' sanctions on the bloc. In response, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus issued a statement announcing its own sanctions against European officials. “The Belarusian side, starting from today, puts into effect a retaliatory sanctions list,” the statement said. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized the EU's move and said “the Belarusian retaliatory sanctions list, coming into effect today, will automatically be used by Russia.” She said this move was in line with obligations under the union agreement between Belarus and Russia. Glaz also said Belarus would impose reductions on diplomatic staff from Canada and Britain, which earlier this week announced sanctions against Lukashenko and other officials.
100,000 march in Belarus capital on 50th day of protests
Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have been protesting daily since the Aug. 9 presidential election. (AP Photo/TUT.by)KYIV – About 100,000 demonstrators marched in the Belarusian capital calling for the authoritarian president’s ouster, some wearing cardboard crowns to ridicule him, on Sunday as the protests that have rocked the country marked their 50th consecutive day. Protests also took place in nine other cities, underlining the wide extent of dismay and anger with President Alexander Lukashenko, who has stifled opposition and independent news media during 26 years in power. The protest wave began after the Aug. 9 presidential election that officials said gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office with a crushing 80% of the vote. Lukashenko slapped back sharply at Emmanuel Macron on Sunday after the French president said in a newspaper interview that Lukashenko must leave power.
Belarus detains opposition leader's lawyer amid protests
KYIV – Authorities in Belarus detained a lawyer representing a top opposition activist who was jailed this month amid mass protests against the country's authoritarian president, who won a sixth term in a disputed election. The lawyer, Lyudmila Kazak, went missing Thursday, with police confirming later in the day that she had been detained. A court hearing on Kazak's case started in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Friday afternoon, Belarusian media reported. Kazak was defending Maria Kolesnikova, a key member of a council Belarus' political opposition set up to push for a new presidential election. ___Follow AP's coverage of the protests in Belarus at https://apnews.com/hub/belarus
Police detain over 400 during Sunday protests in Belarus
KYIV – Police in Belarus said they detained more than 400 protesters who took part in a weekend demonstration demanding the resignation of the nation's authoritarian president following a disputed vote. Soldiers blocked off the center of Minsk using water cannons, armored personnel carriers and barbed wire. Protests also took place in several other cities, including Brest, where police used tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowd. Protests began on Aug. 9, after Lukashenko won his sixth term in office in an election opposition supporters and many European governments believe was rigged. In response to the crackdown, opposition supporters released personal data of more than 1,000 police officers on Saturday.