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World Belarus faces imminent sanctions as pressure mounts on Lukashenko

01:11  28 september  2020
01:11  28 september  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Belarus police detain hundreds of women at protest

  Belarus police detain hundreds of women at protest Riot police on Saturday detained hundreds of women, dragging many into vans, as opposition protesters marched through the Belarusian capital Minsk demanding an end to President Alexander Lukashenko's rule. Police blocked the women and began pulling them into police vans as they stood with linked hands, swiftly detaining hundreds, an AFP journalist saw. Police lifted some women off their feet in order to remove them.Around two thousand women took part in the "Sparkly March", wearing shiny accessories and carrying red-and-white flags of the protest movement.

Diplomatic pressure on Lukashenko mounted a day after he had himself sworn in for a sixth term at an inauguration ceremony that was kept secret until after it was completed. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that following the "fraudulent" inauguration, British, U.S

Demonstrators want Mr Lukashenko to resign after alleging widespread ballot-rigging. But the Belarusian leader - in power for 26 years - has denied the allegations and accuses Western nations of interfering. The 66-year-old has promised to defend Belarus . Most opposition leaders are now under

By Arshad Mohammed, Matt Spetalnick and Robin Emmott

Alexander Lukashenko wearing a suit and tie: Belarusian President Lukashenko attends a swearing-in ceremony in Minsk © Reuters/BelTA Belarusian President Lukashenko attends a swearing-in ceremony in Minsk

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States, Britain and Canada may impose sanctions on Belarus as early as Friday, four sources told Reuters, and the European Union told President Alexander Lukashenko it did not recognise him as the country's legitimate leader.

Diplomatic pressure on Lukashenko mounted a day after he had himself sworn in for a sixth term at an inauguration ceremony that was kept secret until after it was completed.

Amal Clooney quits UK envoy role over 'lamentable' international law breach

  Amal Clooney quits UK envoy role over 'lamentable' international law breach Amal Clooney quits UK envoy role over 'lamentable' international law breachThe British government has drafted a bill which it acknowledges would violate its international legal obligations and undercut parts of the divorce deal it signed before Britain formally left the European Union in January.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been an extraordinary outlier in the monumental But this weekend's two phone calls with Putin -- the first sought by Lukashenko after days of The second is the risk of sanctions and a Western response, where the Russian march towards the

Bloc declares solidarity with protests against Lukashenko ’s grip on power as it vows to press ahead with sanctions .

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that following the "fraudulent" inauguration, British, U.S. and Canadian officials were working on sanctions against those responsible for "serious human rights violations".

The four sources said the measures could come on Friday, though that might slip given the challenge of coordinating between the three countries.

More than 12,000 people have been arrested, and hundreds remain in jail, since Lukashenko was declared the landslide winner of an Aug. 9 presidential election that the opposition denounced as rigged.

Mass protests have left him reliant on his security forces, and backing from his ally Russia, to maintain his 26-year grip on power in the former Soviet republic.

Russia Troops Drop Near West Border in Belarus Drills Being Watched by U.S.

  Russia Troops Drop Near West Border in Belarus Drills Being Watched by U.S. "As with all activity in the region, we are aware of and closely monitoring the exercise," U.S. European Command spokesperson Navy Lieutenant Commander Russ Wolfkiel told Newsweek.The combined paratrooper exercises of Russia and Belarus are part of the Slavic Brotherhood 2020 drills being conducted in the latter country's city of Brest, located near the border with Poland. The maneuvers are being conducted upon the backdrop of mass protests in the wake of a disputed vote that saw the re-election of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko, who has blamed the West for the unrest.

image captionPresident Lukashenko (left) is under pressure from President Vladimir Putin of Russia (right) to allow a Russian air base to be located in Belarus . Russia wants to establish the base to counter what it sees as Nato's eastward advance, but Belarus argues that such a base will not reduce

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko , facing a nearly three-week popular uprising since a disputed election, threatened on Friday to cut off European transit routes across his country if sanctions are imposed. Speaking during a visit to a dairy factory in the country's east, Lukashenko

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said: "The inauguration is as illegitimate as the elections it follows."

The European Union said the abrupt swearing-in on Wednesday went directly against the will of the people.

"The so-called 'inauguration' ... and the new mandate claimed by Aleksander Lukashenko lack any democratic legitimacy," the EU's 27 states said in a statement.

"This 'inauguration' directly contradicts the will of large parts of the Belarusian population, as expressed in numerous, unprecedented and peaceful protests since the elections, and serves to only further deepen the political crisis in Belarus."

The EU, a large financial donor to Belarus, also said it was "reviewing its relations" with the country, meaning the bloc would seek to cut off direct funding to Lukashenko's government, channelling it to aid groups and hospitals instead.

Belarus: EU says Lukashenko is not the legitimate president

  Belarus: EU says Lukashenko is not the legitimate president President Alexander Lukashenko is not the legitimate president of Belarus, the European Union said on Thursday, saying his abrupt swearing-in on Wednesday went directly against the will of the people. © Andrei Stasevich/AP Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko takes his oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the Palace of the Independence in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. Lukashenko of Belarus has assumed his sixth term of office in an inauguration ceremony that wasn't announced in advance.

EU refuses to recognise Lukashenko as legitimate president of ex-Soviet republic as Minsk slams foreign It is clear that Lukashenko has to go,” Macron said. The news comes as Belarusian Minister of “Interference in our internal affairs, sanctions and other restrictions on Belarus will have the

Russia PM visits Belarus as Lukashenko faces 4th week of protests. Al Jazeera. Kremlin denies Russia poisoned Alexey Navalny. Thousands of women in Belarus protest against Lukashenko .

NIGHT OF PROTESTS

Lukashenko brushed off the condemnation.

"We didn't ask anyone to recognise our elections or not recognise them, to recognise the legitimacy of the newly elected president or not," the news site Sputnik Belarus quoted him as saying.

The 66-year-old leader defended the manner of his swearing-in.

"You know about 2,000 people were invited to the inauguration, together with the military. And it is almost impossible to keep it secret," he said.

The ceremony, a major state occasion that would normally be conducted with fanfare, took place without prior warning in an apparent attempt to prevent it being disrupted by protests.

Instead, it drew thousands onto the streets of the capital Minsk on Wednesday evening, where security forces chased down protesters and fired water cannon to disperse crowds.

Police detained 364 people, the Interior Ministry said.

A video showing a taxi driver rescuing a protester and speeding away from baton-wielding riot police went viral on social media.

Detained opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova urged protesters not to give up and mocked the security forces who arrested her, in a letter to her father that was shared by the Tut.By news portal.

"You must tell them not to give up, just keep going! These people who have kidnapped me are all incredibly weak and hysterical. They don't even know how to do their job well," the 38-year-old musician wrote.

Kolesnikova burnished her status as a hero to the protesters by ripping up her passport to avoid forced deportation to Ukraine earlier this month.

(Additional reporting by John Chalmers, Kate Holton, Elizabeth Piper, David Ljunggren, Andrey Makhovsky, Maxim Rodionov and Maria Vasilyeva; writing by Mark Trevelyan, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Belarus: Alexander Lukashenko inaugurated as Belarus President .
Embattled Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has been inaugurated as President, state media reported, as protests continue over his hotly-disputed election win. © Andrei Stasevich/AP President Alexander Lukashenko takes his oath of office during an unannounced inauguration ceremony in Minsk on September 23. The country's state press service released images of the unannounced ceremony, which took place in the capital, Minsk, on Wednesday. The embattled Belarusian president assumed office during a ceremony at Minsk's Palace of Independence.

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