- Tikhanovskaya announced that neither she nor her husband would run in the new elections.
- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on Friday expressed concern over the situation of political prisoners in Belarus.
- The United Nations has called on the Belarussian government to release all detainees as soon as possible and to prosecute the perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment.
The Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya held her first press conference in Lithuania while in exile, on Saturday (August 22nd). Criticizing President Lukashenko, the Belarusian opposition leader stressed that his countrymen would “never” agree to compromise with the current government.
Ms. Tikhanovskaya went on to say that Belarusians want fundamental changes in their political system and do not recognize the results of the August 9 presidential election. Tikhanovskaya said she said she did not intend to run in the by-elections.
In an interview with Belsat TV, Ms Tikhanovskaya said :
“I’m not planning to run myself. The future of Belarus, and therefore the future of our children, now depends on your unity and your determination. So I ask you – go on and expand the strikes. Don’t be fooled by intimidation. Unite!”
Tikhanovskaya announced that neither she nor her husband would run in the new elections. Lukashenko’s rival has previously said she was ready to take over the presidency. She announced her readiness to run in the August 9 presidential election after her husband was arrested in May.
Alexander Lukashenko claims to have won the election “with 80% of the vote”. He has ruled Belarus for 26 years and has no plans to step down. Thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to protest against Lukashenko after the election results were announced. Employees of a number of government organizations and media outlets also went on strike.
Tikhanovskaya also fled to Lithuania, where she worked for the success of the opposition and the holding of new elections. Mr. Lukashenko said foreign countries, particularly the United States, had provoked protests in Belarus and “bought” protesters. He also criticized European countries for “supporting the American game.”
“It involves taking the most stringent measures to protect the territorial integrity of our country,” Lukashenko said.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on Friday expressed concern over the situation of political prisoners in Belarus. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, more than 100 Belarusian opposition figures are still in prison. Most of these people have been arrested in the post-election peaceful protest movement.
A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said no information was available on the whereabouts of the eight. A number of detainees spoke of torture.
The United Nations has called on the Belarussian government to release all detainees as soon as possible and to prosecute the perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment. Some detainees have been charged with long-term prison sentences.
Wanted a nationwide strike
Opposition groups called for a boycott of President Alexander Lukashenko’s office in Belarus. But the government has announced that it will expel the strikers immediately. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Lithuania, said in a video message that the general strike was “a legal and effective weapon against the regime”. That is why she called for the strikes to continue and promised to help the strikers financially.