Die Welt: EU won't blacklist Lukashenko due to German stance

Monday, 07 Sep, 2020

Tens of thousands of Belarusian protesters have staged a peaceful new march, keeping the pressure on strongman Alexander Lukashenko, who has refused to quit after his disputed re-election, turning instead to Russian Federation for help to stay in power.

On Saturday thousands of women marched through the capital of Belarus, calling for the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Lukashenko there would be further sanctions against the Eastern European country if crackdowns on protests continued.

Lukashenko reportedly told Mishustin that the information about the poisoning had been falsified.

Protesters later converged on a Catholic church in Independence Square, with hundreds crammed inside for a service, in solidarity with Minsk's archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz who was barred from re-entering Belarus on Monday.

Protests also took place in major cities throughout Belarus, said Interior Ministry spokesperson Olga Chemodanova.

Viasna said about 20 of the students were detained on Saturday.

Lukashenko has in the past ruled out outright unification and sought to play Moscow against the West but his options now are limited.

"I want to protect what we have been creating for 25 years, a quarter of a century, with our own hands".

Riot police respond to the protests in Minsk.

The Education Ministry has vowed to crack down harder on universities in light of their role in the protests.

As demonstrators gradually dispersed later Sunday, images showed hooded men in civilian clothes with batons chasing and beating demonstrators.

European Union members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this week banned Lukashenko and 29 other high-ranking officials.

In a video broadcast, Tikhanovskaya emphasized that she did not want to close herself off from contact with Russian Federation, but Moscow had thus far not gotten in touch.

The opposition leader said, "We are ready and open to a dialogue with all sides, all parties and all countries that respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Belarus".

Earlier on Thursday, Lukashenko named the countries he says are interfering in the country's internal affairs and running protests.

The authorities have tried to halt the protest movement with threats and the prosecution of protesters, political activists, and journalists covering the demonstrations.

She told colleagues that authorities came to her during the evening and she could leave the state or face a lengthy sentence in prison.

They were later released having already served their terms while in pretrial detention.