Canada Belarus opposition leader praises friendship of Canada’s Champagne

02:21  20 october  2020
02:21  20 october  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

Belarus: Opposition calls for the March of Pride

 Belarus: Opposition calls for the March of Pride For the ninth time in a row people in Belarus want to take to the streets against the ruler Lukashenko. They see the fact that he visited political prisoners as a "sign of weakness." © STRINGER / AFP The opposition in Belarus is hoping for hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in new protests against the ruler Alexander Lukashenko. In a so-called "March of Pride", people across the country should loudly demand their right to new elections from 1 p.m., according to a call by the democracy movem

Canada ’ s Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne meets with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya at her home in exile in Lithuania.

Canada ' s current approach to Belarus seeks to recognize the modest progress, including the conduct of The Canadian Embassy in Warsaw manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) for Belarus , which supports projects focused on democratization and human rights in that country.

The main opposition leader of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has told Global News that the support of Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne was very important to her in the immediate aftermath of the country's disputed election.

François-Philippe Champagne wearing a suit and tie: Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne poses with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (L) prior to their meeting at the Kempinski hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Oct. 16, 2020. © PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP via Getty Images Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne poses with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (L) prior to their meeting at the Kempinski hotel in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Oct. 16, 2020.

Speaking from exile in Vilnius, Lithuania — where she fled in the wake of the Aug. 9 vote — she said Champagne reached out to her just after she arrived from Belarus.

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The British- Canadian decision was announced shortly after the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Lithuania, met the opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in a move that takes her closer to official recognition by Europe as the legitimate leader of Belarus .

Belarus is gripped by mass protests, triggered by an election widely believed to have been rigged in favour of the long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko. After violent clashes with opposition demonstrators, numerous allegations of police brutality, processions of women in white with roses and

"I am so grateful to Canada, because Mr. Champagne was the first person who called me when I came from Belarus. I was so inexperienced. I didn't know what to talk about with foreign leaders, but he was so kind. He was so supportive," she said.

"He was just talking to me like a friend. And I understood that foreign politicians, they are not like Belarusian politicians, they are usual people. He really inspired me for the future fight, because I was so upset, I was so stressed by my leaving Belarus."

Read more: Canada’s foreign affairs minister meets with exiled Belarus opposition leader

Tsikhanouskaya joined her two children in Lithuania, having sent them to the neighbouring country during the election campaign.

Outgoing president since 1994, Alexander Lukashenko, claimed victory in the August ballot, with more than 80 per cent of the vote — a result dismissed by the European Union as neither free nor fair.

Belarus: the ultimatum to Loukachenko

 Belarus: the ultimatum to Loukachenko © Supplied by Le Point Paralyze the country. This is now the watchword of Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa , 38, the leading figure of the Belarusian opposition. The former presidential candidate, forced to go into exile in Lithuania , issues an ultimatum to Alexandre Loukachenko . He now has until October 25 to release political prisoners and leave his post. Otherwise, it will call on the entire population to demonstrate peacefully and to start a national strike .

The leader of the Official Opposition (French: chef de l' Opposition officielle), formally known as the leader of Her Majesty' s Loyal Opposition (French: chef de la loyale opposition de Sa Majesté), is the politician who leads the Official Opposition in Canada

US & Canada . Protesters and riot police have clashed in Belarus ' s capital Minsk and other cities, after a state TV exit poll said long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in Sunday' s election.

Tsikhanouskaya, 38, entered the race after her husband Siarhei Tsikhanouski, a blogger and opposition activist, was jailed in late May.

On Oct. 10, she spoke to him on the phone for the first time since he was arrested.

"He was upset, because he asked how (are the) children, and I told him that our youngest daughter, she's crying every evening. 'Where is my daddy?' And she's only five. But she, I think, she realizes that it's too long that he's absent," said Tsikhanouskaya.

"He couldn't talk a lot, because, as I understood, there were people with him who didn't let him (say) what he wanted."

Tsikhanouski is among a group of opposition activists and politicians jailed before and after the election.

All eight members of the opposition Coordination Council are now jailed, under house arrest or outside of the country.

Nobel laureate in literature Svetlana Alexievich is in Germany for medical treatment, but says she will return to Belarus.

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In Canada , the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (French: Chef de l' opposition au Sénat) is the leader of the largest party in the Senate not in government. Even though the position' s name is very similar to the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons (the Opposition House Leader )

Today the UK and Canada have sent a clear message by imposing sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko’ s violent and fraudulent regime. The Belarusian authorities have taken no action to hold those responsible to account. Many opposition figures have been arrested or forcibly deported and

Tsikhanouskaya says that is still not possible for her.

Read more: Thousands of retirees march in Belarus demanding Lukashenko’s resignation

"I had the intention to come back to Belarus, just to support the Belarusian people, but we weighed it — for and against — and just decided that I would be more useful here, and safe, than in jail in Belarus, because I'm sure that as (soon as) I pass the border, I will be jailed," said Tsikhanouskaya.

On Friday, Belarusian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Tsikhanouskaya, accusing her of “attempts to overthrow constitutional order” and threatening Belarus’s national security.

Face-to-face meeting

On the same day in Vilnius, she met with Champagne in person, where the Canadian foreign minister called the Belarus elections "fraudulent."

“Canada will always be on your side,” he said after the meeting. “In fact, I believe you can expect that the entire international community will be together with you and the people of Belarus for the democratic future of your country.”

Canada has joined the United States and the European Union in introducing sanctions against Belarusian officials responsible for vote-rigging and a crackdown on protests.

Belarus: tens of thousands of demonstrators, more than 200 arrests

 Belarus: tens of thousands of demonstrators, more than 200 arrests This protest action is the first of scale since the ultimatum fixed to Alexander Lukashenko by the figurehead of the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa. © AFP Unlike previous rallies, the demonstrators chose Sunday, October 18 not to march in the center of Minsk. Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets in Belarus this Sunday against President Alexander Lukashenko , despite the threat of live ammunition from the police, who arrested more than 200 people.

Belarusian politician, president of Belarus . After Lukashenko confirmed he was running for re-election in 2005, opposition groups began to seek a single candidate. Mass protests erupted across Belarus following the 2020 Belarusian presidential election which was marred by allegations of

Canada –Russia relations (Russian: Российско-канадские отношения) is the bilateral relationship between Canada and Russia, the world' s two largest countries in terms of area. As vast northern countries, Canada and Russia share some interests and some cooperative policies.

Tsikhanouskaya is thankful for the foreign intervention, but thinks the West can do even more.

"We suppose that this list is too short. And now I know the expanding of this list is (under) discussion."

Lukashenko is aided by support from neighbouring Russia.

The Kremlin has accused the West of meddling in Belarus, but Tsikhanouskaya insists Russia must be at the table in any future mediation talks.

Read more: Scores of protesters detained as Belarus police disperse demonstration

"I'm sure that all the neighbouring leaders of all the neighbouring countries should be involved in this mediation, including Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland," she said.

"After two months, we have seen no reply from our authorities (in Belarus). That's why we started to ask for mediation and the Kremlin, the representative of Russia, has to be in this mediation campaign on the basis of overseeing."

Every weekend since the disputed election, thousands of Belarusian people have taken to the streets to demand free and fair elections, and to ask for Lukashenko to resign.

Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Minsk on Sunday, despite a threat by officials to use firearms against protesters.

Since August they have been met with a violent police crackdown, including accusations that police shot and killed an unarmed protester.

Human rights groups have also accused authorities of systematic beatings and torture of detained demonstrators.

Tsikhanouskaya is demanding all police violence be stopped, that political prisoners be freed, and that Lukashenko resign by Oct. 25.

Otherwise, she says there will be a huge nationwide strike on Monday, Oct. 26.

"I'm sure that we will get this dialogue through the pressure we put on authorities, inward pressure and outside pressure. They will not have a choice to do anything else, because they see already that Belarusian people will not step away," she said.

"We will not be able to live with (Lukashenko) in such a regime anymore. These protests can transform somehow, being in different forms, but they will continue. The Belarusians' will will not be changed."

Belarus: demonstration against power on the last day of the opposition's ultimatum .
© - Security forces block a street for opponents demonstrating in Minsk on October 25, 2020 A new demonstration was taking place in the capital of Belarus against President Alexander Loukachenko on Sunday, the last day of an ultimatum set by the opposition for the latter to withdraw, otherwise it will call for a general strike. © - Security forces take a position to block demonstrators on October 25, 2020 in Minsk The Belarusian opposition demands the departure of Mr.

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