Protest rally in Minsk, 25.03
Western politicians should take a look at their own democracy before criticizing Belarus, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka said on Thursday.
“I received a letter from a group of U.S. congressmen, including the famous McCain, who searches for democracy in Belarus. The letter complains that we’ve apprehended someone here and so on and so forth. In my reply I suggested they should take a look at what kind of democracy is practiced in Western countries. Brussels, London, Paris, and Germany saw bombs, poison, tear gas, water cannons, and police batons only recently,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka as saying.
In the wake of the violent suppression of protests in Belarus, the U.S. Senator and a former presidential candidate John McCain urged president Lukashenka to immediately and unconditionally release the hundreds of citizens unjustly detained and arrested for exercising their fundamental right to free expression and assembly and respect its citizens’ civil liberties.
“The Belarusian people deserve the freedom to chart their nation’s future, and it is time the Government of Belarus respond to their legitimate demands,” he said.
The Belarusian leader advised the U.S. politicians to take a ‘long hard look’ at ‘what kind of democracy’ they practice and stressed that the Belarusian authorities had never tried to ‘poison anyone with tear gas’.
It should be recalled that dozens of persons were arrested in Minsk soon after the march of people protesting the so-called ‘social parasitism’ on March 15. Most detentions were brutal. A number of activists of the Belarusian anarchist movement managed to catch the trolley bus number 37, but at the next stop the trolley bus got blocked by four minibus. Plainclothes men rushed into the trolley and began detaining activists. Whatever Alyaksandr Lukashenka says now, they did use tear gas during the arrest of the anarchists. Regular passengers were also affected by the gas.
Water cannons in Minsk in run-up of March, 25 rally. Phot. tut.by
As reported earlier, in a resolution voted on Thursday, the European Parliament condemned the crackdown on peaceful protestors and arrests of human rights defenders and journalists in Belarus. MEPs warned the Belarusian authorities that in the event of failure to carry out thorough and impartial investigations into all allegations in connection with the recent demonstrations, the EU may impose new restrictive measures.
In response, Dzmitry Mironchyk, Spokesman for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, said that he method of barks and admonitions did not work with Belarus.
“It needs to take into account the objective reality and processes going on in our country and the region as a whole. The resolution demonstrates that the European Parliament did not try to achieve that,” the press officer stated.