The situation in Belarus continues to escalate. Tens of thousands of demonstrators are now taking to the streets against President Lukashenko. Because of the violence against the protests, the EU is now calling a video summit. The developments in the news ticker from FOCUS Online.
The most important thing in brief: After head of state Lukashenko received over 80 percent of the vote in the elections on August 9, according to official figures, people in Belarus took to the streets. You accuse Lukashenko of electoral fraud. The rulers reacted to the protests with violence. There is therefore a lot of criticism internationally.
Nobel laureate in literature Alexievich leaves Belarus
Monday, September 28, 1:11 p.m .: The politically committed Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexijewitsch has left her homeland Belarus, according to information from the German Press Agency. The 72-year-old therefore left the country in the direction of Berlin with a Belavia aircraft out of concern for her safety.
Despite protests in Belarus: Lukashenko is surprisingly sworn in as president
Wednesday, September 23, 10:43 a.m .: The controversial head of state Alexander Lukashenko was inducted into the office of president for the sixth time in Belarus. The 66-year-old surprisingly took the oath on Wednesday morning. The state media reported in Minsk.
Charges were brought against Belarusian opposition activist Kolesnikova
Wednesday, September 16, 10:24 p.m .: Opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova, arrested in Belarus, was charged on Wednesday with “endangering national security”. You will remain in police custody until further notice, said the Belarusian investigative authority. The 38-year-old has been in custody for more than a week, despite international protests.
Kolesnikova is a leading figure in the opposition and the last remaining in Belarus of the three women who shaped the election campaign against the authoritarian ruling head of state Alexander Lukashenko. Kolesnikova played a key role in the large-scale demonstrations against the president. During demonstrations for her release, there have been numerous arrests in recent days.
According to the opposition, Kolesnikova was kidnapped by strangers in Minsk last week. According to eyewitnesses, the 38-year-old was taken to the border to be deported to Ukraine against her will. When she resisted, she was arrested. Most recently, Kolesnikova announced that he would be suing representatives of the security authorities in Belarus for kidnapping and death threats.
Putin supports Lukashenko with a billion-dollar loan – and proposes constitutional reform
Monday, September 14, 4:01 p.m .: In view of the power struggle in Belarus, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has promised his ailing colleague Alexander Lukashenko a loan of 1.5 billion US dollars. The neighboring country should get help from Moscow “at this difficult moment”, Putin said on Monday at a meeting with Lukashenko in Sochi. The controversial head of state has been under immense pressure since the presidential election and the weeks of mass protests in August.
Minsk is economically heavily dependent on Moscow. According to its own finance ministry, Belarus has US $ 18 billion in debt abroad. With a large part of this sum, the country is therefore in the chalk with Russia.
Due to the tense situation, Putin also spoke out in favor of constitutional reform in Belarus. “I think that is logical, timely and appropriate,” said the Kremlin chief. Lukashenko had not ruled out possible changes. However, the opposition emphasized that he only wanted to buy time with these promises.
Belarus: Opposition lawyer Snak arrested by “masked men”
Wednesday, September 9, 9:22 am: According to his supporters, opposition lawyer Maxime Snak has been arrested by “masked men” in Belarus. According to those around him, Snak was expected in the office of the opposition Coordination Council on Wednesday morning, but never arrived there. The group posted a photo of Snak on the Telegram online service, taken by masked men; the lawyer was one of the last two members of the Coordination Council still at large in Belarus.
Authorities claim: Kolesnikova was arrested while attempting to cross the border
Tuesday, September 8, 8:58 a.m .: Belarusian opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova has been arrested on the border with Ukraine. The Belarusian border protection authorities told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that they tried to cross the border during the night. Two other members of the opposition coordination council who accompanied Kolesnikowa had succeeded in crossing the border.
Coordinating Council in Belarus sure: Opposition politician Kolesnikova was kidnapped
2.31 p.m .: The missing Belarusian opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova has been kidnapped, according to the Coordination Council of the Democracy Movement. “Your whereabouts are unknown,” said the panel for a peaceful change of power in Minsk on Monday. The 38-year-old was kidnapped by strangers in the center of Minsk together with her colleague Ivan Kravzov and her spokesman Anton Rodnenkow. “The Coordinating Council is demanding immediate release,” it said.
The media had previously reported, citing an eyewitness, that Kolesnikova had been put in a minibus. The authorities have not yet given any information about the whereabouts, the council said. “We can see that in the past few days the authorities have started to use terrorist methods openly instead of entering into a dialogue with society.”
Kolesnikova is one of the most important opposition activists who oppose the head of state Alexander Lukashenko. She is also a member of the coordination council. The authoritarian head of state is taking action against the body and has already had several members arrested.
After Kolesnikova’s disappearance, opposition politician Svetlana Tichanowskaya spoke of an attempt by the government to hinder the work of the Coordination Council. “But that won’t stop us,” she wrote on the Telegram news channel. The more the authorities intimidated people, the more people would take to the streets.
For more than four weeks there have been protests against Lukashenko in Belarus. The background to this is the presidential election, in which he was declared the winner with 80.1 percent of the vote. The opposition, however, considers Tichanovskaya to be the real winner. The vote is criticized internationally as grossly falsified.
Belarusian opposition politician Kolesnikova apparently disappeared without a trace
Monday, September 7, 11:17 a.m .: There is no trace of one of the most important leaders of the opposition in Belarus, Maria Kolesnikova. Your colleagues have no contact with her, said the press service of the coordination council of the democracy movement in Minsk on Monday. In addition, her colleague Ivan Kravtsov and her spokesman Anton Rodnenkow are no longer available.
According to an eyewitness, the Internet portal tut.by reported that strangers put Kolesnikova in a minibus and kidnapped him on Monday morning. This has not yet been confirmed by the Coordination Council.
The 38-year-old is one of the most important members of the opposition who oppose the controversial head of state Alexander Lukashenko. Some of the committee’s colleagues had previously been arrested, left the country or forced to leave, including the presidential candidate Svetlana Tichanovaskaya. She fled to the EU country Lithuania after the election.
Kolesnikova works for ex-bank chief Viktor Babariko, who wanted to run for president. She is also on the Presidium of the Coordination Council, which seeks a peaceful change of power. Kolesnikowa had lived in Stuttgart for many years and managed cultural projects from there. Kolesnikova appeared repeatedly in protests and was cheered by the demonstrators. She marched with the large demonstration on Sunday in Minsk.
The background to the protests is the presidential election more than four weeks ago. Lukashenko had then declared himself the winner with 80.1 percent of the vote. The opposition, however, considers Tichanovskaya to be the real winner. The vote is criticized internationally as grossly falsified.
Opposition around Kolesnikova founds new party
Tuesday, September 1st, 01:04 am: The democracy movement in Belarus around the opposition party Maria Kolesnikowa has announced the establishment of a party for the renewal of the country. The political force with the name Wmestje – in German: Together – should give people who wanted change a basis, said the 38-year-old on Monday. For many years, Kolesnikowa managed international cultural projects from Stuttgart and has been living permanently in Minsk for several months. She is considered one of the most important faces in the citizens’ movement against the controversial head of state Alexander Lukashenko.
Kolesnikova works for ex-bank chief Viktor Babariko, who wanted to run for president. Lukashenko had him arrested before the election, the criminal proceedings are considered politically motivated.
“In the past three months we have all achieved more together than in the past 26 years. Together we have fought and will continue to fight for freedom and for our future,” said Kolesnikova in a video message published on Monday evening. In the clip there is also an appearance of Babariko before his arrest. He says it’s time to take work to a new level. The primary task is now to shape a constitutional amendment.
The party works independently of the recently established Civil Society Coordination Council for a change of power in Belarus. The democracy movement is calling for the resignation of “Europe’s last dictator,” as Lukashenko is called. The goals are also the release of all political prisoners and fair and free new elections.
The joint party is about taking responsibility for building a new society, said Kolesnikova. It is necessary to react to the current challenges and to give committed citizens a political home. The aim is to end the political, social and economic crisis in the country. Initially, the party’s program was unclear, and it is now about to apply for registration. In Belarus there are no parties in the usual sense with a strong profile of their own.
ARD camera team arrested in Minsk – employees have to leave the country
Saturday, August 29, 1:27 p.m .: On Friday evening, an ARD camera team was arrested in front of his hotel in Minsk and held overnight in a police station. There is a Russian cameraman and a Russian camera assistant who work for the ARD studio in Moscow, as well as a Belarusian producer. All three were properly accredited and their official accreditations have since been withdrawn. The three-man team was released this morning around 10 a.m. The two Russian colleagues have already been expelled from the country and are on their way to Moscow. You are banned from entering Belarus for five years. The Belarusian producer is threatened with trial on Monday.
WDR program director Jörg Schönenborn: “I am appalled by the current events and consider the dealings with our team in Minsk to be absolutely unacceptable. The arrest and the revocation of accreditation make our team on site virtually incapable of action. This shows again that independent reporting in Belarus is becoming more and more difficult and almost impossible. As a public service broadcaster, however, we will not be intimidated and will do everything in our power to ensure that our journalists can continue to report critically and independently on the events, protests and demonstrations in Belarus the safety of the employees on site has top priority. “
ARD studio manager in Moscow, Ina Ruck and ARD correspondent Jo Angerer had no contact with the appointed team until the moment of their release this morning. ARD correspondent Jo Angerer was not affected by the arrest, he was not with the team at the time, but was also checked by the police in front of the hotel later that evening.
ARD is represented in Belarus by correspondent Jo Angerer from the ARD studio in Moscow. The ARD studio Moscow is under the leadership of West German Broadcasting.
EU foreign ministers agree on Belarus sanctions
3.30 p.m .: The foreign ministers of the EU countries have agreed on punitive measures against high-ranking supporters of the Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko. Those affected are accused of being responsible for fraudulent elections and the violent crackdown on peaceful protests, said the foreign representative Josep Borrell on Friday after consultations with the ministers in Berlin.
Belarus: Merkel wanted to call President Lukashenko – he simply canceled
Friday, August 28, 12:52 p.m .: “What is your message to the people in Belarus?” Asks a reporter, raking at Angela Merkel’s summer press conference for the parallels that the Chancellor experienced in the course of reunification. “On the one hand I feel reminded. And on the other hand I know that the circumstances are completely different. We were only able to shape the peaceful revolution in the GDR because the Soviet Union allowed this to happen, because the previous path was also possible without the Soviet Union interfered. “
The EU does not recognize the election result in Belarus. “But I also tried to speak to Mr Lukashenko on the phone. He refused. I would like the OSCE to gain access to the various groups in Belarus. It could now play a very important role.”
Reports: Helicopter in Minsk to palace – Lukashenko with Kalashnikov in hand
6:52 p.m .: After the mass protests in Minsk against the head of state Alexander Lukashenko, a helicopter landed at his presidential palace. This could be seen on several videos on the news channel Telegram on Sunday evening. State television showed there how Lukashenko left the helicopter with a Kalashnikov in hand in black gear and went to the palace.
Previously, there had been speculation on social networks whether he wanted to be brought to safety because of the protests. Strong security forces protected the access roads to the palace with military vehicles.
100,000 against Lukashenko: President threatens demonstrators with military
Sunday, August 23, 2020, 5.42 p.m .: More than 100,000 people protested against the ruler Alexander Lukashenko despite warnings from the police and the military that a demonstration was prohibited in Minsk. “Get out of here!” The people chanted in chants on Sunday on Independence Square in the capital of Belarus (Belarus). Then there was a peaceful march of protest through Minsk – under close observation by uniformed men. The police repeatedly warned against participating in the unauthorized rally in loudspeaker announcements.
Head of state Lukashenko had threatened with “tough crackdown” to bring the ex-Soviet republic back to peace. However, the crowd on the streets was so great that the police couldn’t do anything about it. Some opposition platforms on the Internet estimated the number at 200,000 people – about as many as on Sunday a week ago, when there were protests of this magnitude for the first time. They are considered historical.
The Ministry of Defense warned in a statement: “If there should be disturbances of order or unrest in these places, you will no longer have to deal with the militia, but with the army.” Lukashenko had repeatedly threatened to use the army to secure his power if necessary. Many citizens in Belarus have been emphasizing for weeks that they are no longer afraid of “Europe’s last dictator”.
In other cities, too, there have been daily protests and strikes in state-run companies since the controversial presidential election on August 9th. The presidential election, accompanied by allegations of unprecedented fraud, sparked the country’s biggest domestic political crisis. After 26 years in power, Lukashenko was declared the winner of the presidential election for the sixth time in a row with 80 percent of the vote.
Merkel is on the phone with Putin about Belarus
Tuesday, August 18, 12.55 p.m .: In view of the ongoing protests in Belarus, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone on Tuesday. Merkel demanded a “national dialogue with the opposition and society” from the government in Minsk in order to overcome the crisis in the former Soviet republic. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert then announced this. The government must refrain from using violence against peaceful demonstrators and release political prisoners immediately.
In a communication on the conversation between Merkel and Putin, the Kremlin put a completely different focus. He warned foreigners against attempts to “meddle in internal affairs of the Republic (Belarus) from outside”. Then the situation could escalate further. Moscow also hopes that the situation in neighboring Belarus will soon normalize.
Belarus is economically dependent on Russia. Both states are allies. The Kremlin had already made similar statements over the weekend.
“Until you kill me, there will be no elections”: Lukashenko wants to prevent new elections with all his might
12.06 p.m .: After mass protests in Belarus, head of state Alexander Lukashenko rejected new elections. There will be none, said the president on Monday during a visit to the state vehicle manufacturer MZKT in Minsk, according to the state agency Belta. “You won’t expect me to do something under pressure,” said Lukashenko in front of the workers who were unexpectedly hostile to him, as the “Bild” newspaper reported. “We have already had elections. Until you kill me, there will be no elections,” said Lukashenko fiercely.
He had already made a similar statement on Sunday and rejected allegations of fraud in the presidential election a week ago. There have been demonstrations across the country since the election. And even among the workers at MZKT, not all of them were on Lukashenko’s side. As the “Bild” newspaper further reported, many people present called “Go away” or “Get away” and signaled that they were no longer on his side.
Lukashenko also signaled readiness for reform. The state agency quoted Lukashenko as saying that the state agency was quoted as saying, without giving details. He is ready to share powers, “but not under pressure and not across the street.” Lukashenko brushed aside doubts about the legitimacy of the election. With results of more than 80 percent, there could be no electoral fraud.
Thousands of Belarusians see it differently. In Minsk alone, it is estimated that around 100,000 people took part in the protests against violence and arbitrariness under the long-term president on Sunday. A huge crowd could be seen in videos on anti-opposition channels of the Telegram intelligence service. There were actions in every city in the country. At first everything remained peaceful.
EU Council leader convenes special summit on Belarus
11.47 a.m .: In view of the mass protests after the presidential election in Belarus, EU Council President Charles Michel has scheduled an EU video summit for Wednesday (12 noon). The people in Belarus have the right to decide about their future and freely choose their leadership, Michel wrote on Twitter on Monday. Violence against the demonstrators is unacceptable.
The European Union launched new sanctions against supporters of the head of state Lukashenko on Friday because of police violence. In addition, punitive measures are to be imposed against people who are accused of falsifying the presidential election last Sunday, as the foreign ministers of the 27 states decided unanimously.
“The EU does not accept the election results,” said EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell after the ministerial discussions. Work is now being done to sanction those who are responsible for violence and counterfeiting.
Great Britain does not recognize election results
10:38 a.m .: Great Britain does not recognize the election result in Belarus. The British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab spoke on Monday in the short message service Twitter of “fraud” and “serious defects”. Raab also criticized the suppression of peaceful protests after the election. He called for an investigation and threatened to adopt sanctions together with other countries.
TIchanovskaya agreed to lead the protests in Belarus
09.26 a.m .: In view of the mass protests in Belarus that have been going on for more than a week, the opposition Svetlana Tichanowskaya wants to lead the movement against head of state Alexander Lukashenko. “I am ready to take on responsibility at this time and act as a national leader,” said the 37-year-old on Monday in a video message from her exile in the EU country Lithuania. She hoped that with this step the country would calm down, all political prisoners could be released and new presidential elections could be held as soon as possible.
Tichanovskaya had left Belarus fearing for her safety and that of her children. Her supporters see her as the real winner of the presidential election a week ago, which was overshadowed by massive allegations of falsification. She had already announced during the election campaign that she would call new elections as president.
“I have and had no illusions about my political career,” she said. “I didn’t want to be a politician, but fate did it that way.” The most important thing is independence from Belarus. “It is the constant that must not be lost under any circumstances.”
In the video, she urged the security forces and the judiciary to change sides: “If you decide to stop carrying out criminal orders and stand by the side of the people, you will be forgiven.”
Lukashenko opponents file criminal charges for police violence
04:29 am: In Belarus, the opponents of the head of state Alexander Lukashenko want to file criminal charges this Monday for police violence against peaceful citizens. The security forces must be held responsible for the brutal mistreatment of demonstrators and prisoners, said opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova. At least two people died in the demonstrations. They were buried at the weekend with great sympathy from the citizens. The exact causes of death in both men are unclear. In addition, according to the media, around 80 people are missing.
According to Kolesnikova, 4,000 people are still in custody. Hundreds of thousands of people called for the release of political prisoners in a protest march on Sunday. They also demanded Lukashenko’s resignation.
The power apparatus released more than 2,000 prisoners on Friday – many of them showed serious injuries afterwards: bruises, bloody welts on their backs, lacerations on the head and burns from stun grenades. The human rights organization Amnesty International also saw evidence of torture. The authorities denied allegations of ill-treatment, despite a wealth of photo and video evidence.
Greens and FDP: Germany has to take a tough stand against Lukashenko
In view of the mass protests against the government in Belarus, the Greens expect the German government to take a much more critical stance towards President Alexander Lukashenko. “The federal government should publicly declare that Lukashenko is not the elected president for them,” said the Green Bundestag member and Eastern Europe expert Manuel Sarrazin the “Tagesspiegel” (Monday) with a view to the allegedly falsified election. Berlin and Brussels have still not stopped betting on the “worn out dictator” Lukashenko, he complained. That Belarus’ sovereignty could be preserved vis-à-vis Russia is a “naive mistake”.
The FDP MP Renata Alt told the newspaper that both the Foreign Office and Chancellor Angela Merkel had reacted too late and weakly. “Gross human rights violations are taking place on the EU’s doorstep, and Germany and the EU are watching.” It is now important to support the peaceful protests and to bring the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) into play as a mediator. The FDP politician also called on Germany and the EU to seek talks with Russia. The goals are an end to violence in Belarus and free and fair elections. “You have to avoid a scenario like the one in Ukraine or Prague in 1968 at all costs,” said the FDP politician, referring to Russia’s offer to intervene in Belarus in an emergency.
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til / with agency material