Following 10-days worth of intense protests by the people of Belarus, EU leaders have also pledged to intensify pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko and the country’s top officials.
In an attempt to aid and support the citizens of Belarus against the repeated falsification and rigged elections held in the country, the EU has voiced out its concerns and is now aiming to put pressure on the officials associated with the security crackdown on civilians.
The protests in Belarus sparked off after the August 9 polls, which handed Lukashenko his sixth term in power, with a strong suspicion of foul play in the electoral process. Lukashenko, who has run the ex-Soviet nation of Belarus since 1994, won the election with a staggering 80 percent of votes, which is widely seen as rigged.
Following the election results and the onset of the protests, Belarus security forces have detained almost 7,000 protestors and injured hundreds with rubber bullets, stun grenades, and clubs in the first four days of demonstrations. This brutality has also allegedly led to two deaths over the past 10 days.
With a history of heading quite the authoritarian regime, Lukashenko is known to have solidified his control over Belarus’s legislature, judiciary, and media, in order to crush the voices of dissent in the country.
Intervening in the matter with a sense of concern for the country and its citizens, EU Council President Charles Michel has, in a letter, invited leaders to a teleconference saying that “What we have witnessed in Belarus is not acceptable. The violence against peaceful protesters was shocking and has to be condemned. Those responsible must be held to account”, he mentioned.
Upon having a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Michel shared the EU’s concern and further expressed that the people of Belarus have the right to determine their own future, with free and fair elections in place.
According to the Associated Press, during the conversation, both leaders discussed ways to encourage talks between Lukashenko and the opposition, possibly by supporting a dialogue process under the purview of the ‘Organization for Security and Cooperation’ in Europe.