EU rejects Lukashenko inauguration as illegitimate
Two hundred fifty-nine people were detained during protests against the inauguration of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. According to the NGO Vyasna, stating that arrests were happening all over the country. The head of EU diplomacy called Wednesday’s inauguration of Lukashenko illegitimate in a statement today.
Thousands of people took to the streets in Minsk and Grodno, Mogilev, Brest, Borisov, and other Belarusian cities, on Wednesday and night to protest against the sixth inauguration of authoritarian President Lukashenko.
The unannounced inauguration took place despite more than a month of mass demonstrations against the August presidential election results, which the Belarusian opposition and part of the international community have called rigged.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters, pouring water mixed with paint on the protesters so that they could recognize and detain them, the TASS agency reported.
According to the DPA, several people were injured and treated by other protesters on the spot. Eyewitnesses said they heard gunfire in Minsk. Authorities denied that police were in control, according to the Belarusian state agency Belta.
The European Union does not recognize Lukashenko as the Belarusian state’s head, despite Wednesday’s ceremony in Minsk.
In today’s statement, the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell described the act as illegitimate. “The elections of 9 August were not free or fair. The EU does not recognize falsified results. As a result, the so-called ‘inauguration’ of 23 September 2020 and Alexander Lukashenko’s new mandate lack democratic legitimacy and directly oppose the will of much of Belarus,” Borrell said.
Germany, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, as well as the United States, confirmed the decision not to recognize Lukashenko as president on Wednesday.