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World After Lukashenko ignores ‘ultimatum’ deadline, Belarusian opposition leader calls for nationwide strike

21:05  25 october  2020
21:05  25 october  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Apple Is Censoring Belarus Protesters, Activists Say

  Apple Is Censoring Belarus Protesters, Activists Say "We're mostly concerned that if those criminals understand that no one can find them behind [their] mask, they'll ramp up the violence against protesters tenfold," an activist told Newsweek.Thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets since August to protest against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko—who has been dubbed "Europe's last dictator." On August 9, Belarus held an election, with the official results showing Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, winning about 80 percent of the vote. Opposition supporters quickly cried foul, and European and American officials have said the election was neither free nor fair.

MOSCOW —On the final day of what Belarus's opposition has called the "People's Ultimatum," a demand for President Alexander Lukashenko to resign or face a nationwide strike, tens of thousands of protesters marched in Minsk on Sunday before police cracked down with stun grenades.

a crowd of people: Tens of thousands of protesters march in Minsk, Belarus, on Oct. 25, 2020. © Reuters Tens of thousands of protesters march in Minsk, Belarus, on Oct. 25, 2020.

The ultimatum was issued two weeks ago by the main opposition candidate in the Aug. 9 presidential election in an attempt to gain an edge in the stalemate with Lukashenko's government since the disputed vote. Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, claimed victory with about 80 percent of the vote — a result that many Western leaders have agreed was the product of electoral fraud.

Russian spymaster says Belarus protests fueled from abroad

  Russian spymaster says Belarus protests fueled from abroad MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign intelligence chief said Thursday during a visit to Belarus that the 2 1/2 months of protests since the country's presidential election have been fomented from abroad. Belarus has been rocked by massive demonstrations against authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko's reelection to a sixth term in an Aug. 9 vote that the opposition argues was rigged. Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet nation with an iron fist for more than 26 years, has accused the United States and its allies of fueling the protests. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this file photo taken on Friday, Feb.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the main challenger, demanded that Lukashenko resign by Monday to make way for a new election, end the police violence against protesters and release all political prisoners.

“Today at 23:59, the term of the People’s Ultimatum will expire, and if the demands are not met, the Belarusians will start a national strike,” Tikhanovskaya, who has been in self-exile in Lithuania since August, said in a statement Sunday.

Lukashenko has given no indication that he is amenable to Tikhanovskaya’s terms, and it’s unclear whether Belarusians will heed her call for a strike. While many workers at major state-owned factories and other enterprises went on strike in the first week after the election, those stoppages were short-lived because of threats that those employees would lose their jobs permanently.

Belarus: Protesters keep up push for president's resignation

  Belarus: Protesters keep up push for president's resignation KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Several hundred women marched across the capital of Belarus in heavy rain Saturday to demand the resignation of the country's authoritarian president, continuing more than 2 1/2 months of protests against his challenged reelection to a sixth term. The demonstrations were triggered by official results giving President Alexander Lukashenko 80% of the vote in an Aug. 9 election that the opposition insists was rigged. Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994, has accused the United States and its allies of fomenting unrest in the ex-Soviet country.

But authorities seemed to expect mass demonstrations on Sunday, closing 12 subway stations in Minsk and shutting down mobile Internet services.

Riot police did not initially disperse the large crowd in the capital, estimated to rival the more than 200,000 who took to the streets on the first weekend of post-election protests. The crackdown came after nightfall. Videos on social media showed police firing on protesters, followed by what appeared to be stun-grenade blasts.

Security forces used tear gas in the western town of Lida, according to the Russian news agency RIA, which quoted the local interior ministry.

“It looks like wartime in my country,” Hanna Liubakova, a Minsk-based journalist, said on Twitter.

a group of people riding on the back of a car: A protester waves what was the official flag of Belarus for several years during an anti-government rally in Minsk on Oct. 25, 2020. © AFP/Getty Images A protester waves what was the official flag of Belarus for several years during an anti-government rally in Minsk on Oct. 25, 2020.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Lukashenko by phone on Saturday — the first conversation between the two since the election. Pompeo “called for the full release and immediate departure from Belarus of wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Vitali Shkliarov and reaffirmed U.S. support for the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

"People's ultimatum" to Lukashenko expires

 Despite a massive police presence, more than 100,000 people take to the streets in the Belarusian capital Minsk. You lend weight to an ultimatum to the head of state. © Reuters Provided by Deutsche Welle Anyone who follows the state media in Belarus might think that this Sunday is a Sunday like any other. On the other hand, the opposition channel Strana dlja Schisni (A Country to Live) once again shows the support that the opposition movement has in the Belarusian population.

Shkliarov, who has advised presidential candidates in the United States, Russia and Ukraine, was released under house arrest last week.

Lukashenko told Pompeo that Belarus and Russia were ready to respond jointly to external threats, according to Russian news agencies quoting Belarusian state media. Lukashenko has turned east for a lifeline from Russian President Vladimir Putin. In late August, Putin said on Russian state television that a reserve military contingent was ready to intervene on Lukashenko’s behalf if protests got “out of control,” citing looting as an example.

Lukashenko has repeatedly accused Western countries of meddling in Belarusian affairs, alleging that foreign actors instigated the protests to force his ouster. The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions against several high-ranking officials in Belarus accused of fraud and human rights abuses in the wake of the election.

The European Parliament on Thursday awarded the Sakharov Prize, its highest human rights recognition, to the Belarusian opposition movement.

With unrest on all sides, Russia’s regional muscle is being tested Belarusian-style revolution means cleaning up after protests and stopping for red lights As Belarus’s Lukashenko cracks down harder, protesters regroup and fight on

Belarus leader threatens to leave protesters 'without hands' as strike rumbles .
Belarus leader threatens to leave protesters 'without hands' as strike rumblesStudents, factory workers and pensioners answered a call by exiled opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to launch a nationwide strike this week - a fresh move to force Lukashenko to hold new elections after months of mass protests.

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