Belarus opposition leader issues ultimatum to Lukashenko
Belarusian police detained at least 186 people after Monday’s protest by pensioners. People took to the streets in the evening in response to the fact that the police in Minsk did not hesitate to use means such as tear gas or flash grenades against the elderly in the afternoon. The Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, today gave an ultimatum to the Belarusian leaders – she is demanding the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko and other requirements by 25 October. Otherwise, she intends to organize a nationwide strike.
On Monday afternoon, police tried to disperse pensioners’ protest marches in several Belarusian cities. She resorted to harsh means in the metropolis, which encouraged Minsk’s people outraged by such actions to take to the streets in the evening, where members of the security forces again cracked down on them.
According to the human rights organization Vyasna, which published a list of more than seventy of them, some of the detainees were brutally beaten, several of whom had to be taken away by an ambulance. Among those arrested were also several minors, including a 13-year-old boy, who was later released.
In response to current developments in Belarus, former presidential candidate Tsikhanouskaya, who took refuge in neighboring Lithuania after the August elections under pressure from the authorities, called on the regime to secure Lukashenko’s departure, end street violence and release all political prisoners by 25 October. Otherwise, it intends to launch a nationwide strike, a road blockade, and a boycott of state-owned stores on 26 October. “You have 13 days to meet the three conditions. We have 13 days to prepare, and throughout this period, the Belarusians will continue to make peaceful but persistent protests,” Tsikhanouskaya told Telegram on the social network.
In Minsk and other Belarusian cities, mass protests have not subsided since the August presidential election. The election commission announced that longtime leader Lukashenko had won the election, although many believe the election was rigged and that Tsikhanouskaya won. Belarusian authorities detained 713 people at a demonstration on Sunday.
In response to protests from the previous day, the Belarusian deputy interior minister threatened that the authorities would use weapons to suppress the riots if necessary.
Monday’s march was the second event of Belarusian pensioners. They met for the first time on 5 October in the center of Minsk. On the banners were slogans such as “Pensioners are for change” or “I do not trust Lukashenko, BT, RT, and deputies, I trust my children and Světlana Tsikhanouskaya.