Lithuania Supports Opposition in Belarus


Lithuania has been prominent in supporting the opposition candidate in the Belarus elections, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Detained after election results showed that 26-year pro-Russian president Alexander Lukashenko won 80% of the vote, she fled to Lithuania after an apparent threat to her children. The apparent vote-rigging has provoked massive protests since the election on August 9 by Belarussians who took to the streets and suffered violent reprisals, arrests and torture at the hands of police.

In an emergency video conference of 27 European Union heads of state, Lithuanian president Gitanas Nauseda, together with Germany’s Angela Merkel and presidents of Latvia, Estonia and Poland is a key player in the movement to reject the Belarussian election results and sanction its officials. The summit is expected to issue a declaration of solidarity with the protest movement and deliver a warning against Russian meddling after Lukashenko called Vladimir Putin for help.

Senior Russian officals called on western leaders not to interfere in Belarus. Lukashenko has refused all offers to talk with the opposition. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has formed a coordination council with plans for new, fair and democratic presidential elections with international supervision.

With news from the BBC, and The Guardian