Protests erupted in a number of European cities on Saturday in opposition to an intensified crackdown on political opposition by the authoritarian state of Belarus.
Demonstrators gathered in Warsaw, Poland to name for more durable sanctions on Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko and his regime.
Amongst these current was Natalia Protasevich, the mom of Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevich, who was arrested collectively together with his accomplice Sofia Sapega final Sunday after the passenger flight they have been on was diverted by Belarus to Minsk.
“For freedom of speech, my son and Sofia and others are in jail,” Natalia Protasevich stated. “I would like Lukashenka to assume this over. I’m not ashamed to ask all EU nations, to ask America, to assist us.”
About 100 folks additionally gathered within the Ukrainian metropolis of Kyiv, with a few of the members beating a portrait of Lukashenko with slippers and one protester carrying a poster evaluating the Belarusian premier to Adolf Hitler.
Belarusians dwelling in Kyiv stated they may protest extra freely there. One demonstrator, Egor, informed Euronews: “We do not have a chance to have such protests at dwelling.
“So, folks determined to get the eye of different nations, to say that we’re all dwelling on one planet, in the identical Europe.”
Russian premier dismisses ‘outburst of emotion’
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met with Lukashenko on Saturday for talks on nearer ties between the 2 nations, with Putin describing the West’s response to the aircraft interception as “an outburst of emotion”.
Belarus claims the diversion was prompted by a bomb menace, however European leaders have denounced it as akin to air piracy.
Large pro-democracy protests swept via Belarus final summer season after the official outcomes of the 2020 presidential election gave Lukashenko 80 p.c of the vote, offering him with a sixth time period in workplace.
Greater than 30,000 folks have been arrested in the course of the ensuing rebellion, whereas the opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya sought refuge in Lithuania.
On Saturday a number of dozen folks within the Belarusian capital of Minsk additionally marched down a important avenue carrying opposition banners on the anniversary of Tsikhanouskaya’s husband’s arrest.
Belarusian broadcaster suspended by European consortium
The manager board of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has voted to droop Belarus’s nationwide broadcaster over “critical and fairly distinctive issues”.
In a press release issued on Friday, the alliance of public-service media stated it had been “intently monitoring the suppression of media freedom in Belarus” by Belteleradio (BTRC).
The Belarusian state broadcaster has two weeks to reply earlier than the suspension takes impact. The EBU cited “specific alarm” on the current “broadcast of interviews apparently obtained underneath duress”: a probable reference to the printed this week of two separate movies exhibiting a detained Pratasevich, and Sapega.