In Belarus, violence against protesters continues after the presidential elections. A Nobel Prize winner in literature has now spoken clearly about her homeland: the time of dictator Lukashenko is up.
The Nobel Prize in Literature, Svetlana Alexievich, has called on authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to resign in her home country of Belarus. “Get out of here before it’s too late!”, The 72-year-old said in an interview published Wednesday evening by the Belarusian service of the radio station Svoboda. “In my opinion, the power apparatus has declared war on the people.” No one could have imagined such violence in Belarus.
“We have seen this happening in other countries, but we have a car with a small child in it, everything is covered in blood, a pregnant woman is beaten, the detainees are strangled with the knee,” she said. The people are absolutely peaceful. On Wednesday, women joined in human chains to demand the truth about Sunday’s presidential election.
On Thursday evening, countless people again demonstrated in many cities in Belarus for Lukashenko’s resignation. There were again dozens of arrests and several injured. Another protester died after being arrested. In Sunday’s presidential election, Lukashenko, who has been in office for more than 26 years and is considered “Europe’s last dictator”, was declared the winner for the sixth time – with 80.08 percent of the vote. His opponents, on the other hand, see 37-year-old candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya as the winner. She fled to Lithuania under pressure from the authorities.
Alexievich: Russian security forces in Minsk
These women with flowers in their hands were also attacked by the men in uniform. People are convinced that Lukashenko lost the presidential election. “No one around them sees anyone who loves Lukashenko, who would protect him as well as in the past.”
The writer expressed her doubts about the “inhuman actions” of the OMON special police in the capital Minsk that these were troops from Belarus. A deployment of Russian OMON troops would therefore be possible. “It seems to me that the Belarusian boys can’t beat their mothers and sisters like that,” she told the US-funded broadcaster. In the smaller towns, however, OMON officials held back.
After Lukashenko’s resignation, a national rescue committee is needed to run the country. For this the elite must come together. Alexievich also expressed his understanding for the departure of the presidential candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya. The 37-year-old mother was satisfied with her participation in the choice of her case and remains a symbol of change.
Neighboring countries want to mediate
Given the brutal police violence against protesters, neighboring countries Lithuania, Poland and Latvia have offered themselves as mediators. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda presented a plan to end the violence, the presidential chancellery of the Baltic EU country announced Wednesday evening. Poland and Latvia would support this plan and the start of an international mediation process, it said. President Alexander Lukashenko has so far strictly rejected dialogue.
According to the announcement, Nauseda said the authorities in Belarus must first de-escalate the situation immediately and “end the use of brutal violence against the people.” Second, all detained protesters must be released and their prosecution stopped. “Third, we expect the Belarusian authorities to finally enter into a dialogue with their citizens.” The establishment of a “National Council” with representatives of government and civil society could be an appropriate step.
Nauseda said: “Belarus’ closest neighbors, including Lithuania, need a stable, democratic, independent and prosperous country in their neighborhood. This is inconsistent with recent developments, which we are following with great concern.”