Opposition Leader Tikhanovskaya: Belarus Has Awakened
Opposition Leader Tikhanovskaya: The people of Belarus have awakened, and a peaceful revolution has taken place.
“That revolution is not anti- or pro-Russian, nor anti- or pro-European, but for democracy,” Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said in a video statement during a special meeting of the European Parliament’s foreign committee on the country.
Tikhanovskaya called on “other countries” to respect the self-determination of the population and the sovereignty of the country. She spoke from Lithuania, where she fled after her country’s presidential election on August 9, “for fear of persecution,” she said.
The opposition sees the 37-year-old as the winner of those elections. President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in office for 26 years, has, however, been proclaimed head of state for the sixth time, with 80 percent of the voters’ vote.
After a special summit on August 19, EU leaders declared not to recognize the election results.
Sanctions are also being prepared against those believed to be responsible for the violence that precipitated demonstrations, repression of opponents of the regime and electoral fraud. Later this week, EU foreign ministers will discuss developments at a meeting in Berlin.
Tikhanovskaya thanked the EU for its support. “This is happening in the heart of Europe. It’s simple, and we want free and fair elections.”