Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who took over as president of Belarus, said that it was he who gave the order to detain people in Minsk districts during Sunday’s protests.
Lukashenka claims that the protesters needed a “picture”. When it was not possible to achieve it in the city center, the protesters moved to sleeping areas, the head of Belarus said on TV:
“It’s dark, people are scared. Some people went outside with the kids at seven o’clock. Is it normal when the crowd is drunk, maddened, drugged? Hundreds of people rushed to these areas. What did the police have to do? This was my order to keep people safe. They began to open the apartments, rushed there, and had to pull these drug addicts out of the apartments. ”
Lukashenka also appealed to the parents of the protesters, urging to remove “them from the streets, so that later they would not be hurt.”
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus, in turn, reported on more than 500 criminal cases for organizing and participating in the riots, which the authorities consider protests against the Lukashenka regime.
On October 25, Minsk hosted the People’s Ultimatum March, timed to coincide with the last day of the ultimatum of ex-presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya. The rally gathered about 200 thousand people and had a record turnout in a month and a half. The security forces used flash grenades and rubber bullets against the Sunday protestors.
The next day, mass strikes began in Belarus.
Morgan Ortagus, a spokesperson for the State Department, said today that the United States will continue to support Belarusian citizens protesting against Alyaksandr Lukashenka. In her opinion, the opponents of the incumbent head of state “have shown remarkable courage and strength in the face of brutal repression.”