Belarus opposition figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya on Saturday urged pro-democracy protesters to maintain up the momentum, saying President Alexander Lukashenko had “no alternative” however to interact with the opposition.
In an interview with AFP, Tikhanovskaya additionally stated Belarusians had misplaced their worry and referred to as Lukashenko’s transfer to step up border safety an try to “distract consideration from our internal issues”.
“I’m so happy with Belarusians now as a result of after 26 years of worry they’re able to defend their rights,” she stated in Vilnius, the place she fled to after an election on August 9 by which she claims victory.
“I name them to proceed, to not cease as a result of it is actually vital now to proceed to be united within the battle for the rights,” she stated, talking on the eve of mass protests anticipated in Belarus on Sunday.
Opponents of Europe’s longest-serving chief have organised strikes and the biggest demonstrations within the ex-Soviet nation’s latest historical past to protest his re-election and demand that he stand down.
“They’ve to grasp that we aren’t a protest motion. We’re individuals of Belarus and we’re a majority and we won’t step away. We’re not afraid of them anymore,” Tikhanovskaya instructed AFP.
Lukashenko ‘has no alternative’
A former English trainer and political novice, 37-year-old Tikhanovskaya solely joined the political fray within the weeks earlier than the election after her blogger husband was prevented from registering his personal candidacy.
She has not given particulars on why precisely she left Belarus within the aftermath of the vote however she stated she did it for her kids and her supporters say she got here underneath intense strain from Belarusian officers.
She has referred to as for brand new free and honest elections and says she shouldn’t be planning to run in any future vote.
Tikhanovskaya has additionally appointed a Coordination Council which she desires to barter “a peaceable handover of energy” however the opposition physique is being investigated in Belarus as an unlawful try to topple Lukashenko.
Requested what may push Lukashenko to interact with the opposition, she stated: “I believe he has no alternative.”
However she stated that dialogue ought to begin as quickly as potential “to not make this disaster deeper”.
Lukashenko, who appears to be like to Moscow for assist, says the opposition is backed by Western powers and earlier on Saturday ordered border safety stepped up “to guard the territorial integrity of our nation”.
However Tikhanovskaya stated Lukashenko “simply desires to distract consideration from our internal issues”.
The EU has rejected the election outcome and is planning sanctions towards Belarusian officers accused of a violent crackdown on protests, whereas Washington is sending an envoy to Lithuania and Russia subsequent week.
Russia has expressed cautious assist for Lukashenko however there’s a concern within the area that it may intervene extra heavy-handedly if the protests proceed.
“It is essential for our nation, for Belarusian those that different international locations assist them,” she stated.
“We’re glad to have any assist… however I’ve to repeat that we hope for respect for the sovereignty of our nation.”