Opposition Coordination Council insists on dialogue, blames Lukashenka for rattling sabres

On August 24, the Coordination Council (CC) that aims to build a dialogue with the Belarusian authoritities amid the deteriorating situation in the country has hekd a press conference.

As reported earlier, Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s strongest rival Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya initiated the creation of the Coordination Council as part of taking urgent measures to restore law and order in Belarus as well as to ensure the transfer of power in the country. At the moment, the Council comprises 600 members. Last week, Belarus’ Prosecutor General opened a criminal case over establishing the Council, naming it a ‘threat to national security’. Its members may face charges of attempts to seize power in Belarus.

Tsikhanouskaya calls on authorities to join dialogue and announces establishment of Coordination Council

On Monday morning, OMON riot police put politician Volha Kavalkova and activist Syarhei Dyleuski (both are members of the CC board) in a paddy wagon and drove away. They are allegedly being held in one of the police departments on Minsk. A bit later, another CC board member Liliya Ułasava was summoned to the Belarusian Investigative Committee.

At today’s press conference, Ulasava reiterated that the Council’s actions were not of political, but of social nature.

“Our goal is to launch a peaceful dialogue with the authorities in order to discuss the crisis in Belarus. […] We are negotiators, the ones with whom you [officials] can discuss the situation in the country,” she added.

Maryia Kalesnikava. Photo: Svyatlana Far / belsat.eu

In turn, Maryia Kalesnikava, Viktar Babaryka’s election agent and Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s associate, thanked Belarusians for their participation in peaceful rallies.

“We are a peaceful and united nation and we want to be respected [by the authorities]. We demand that the majority’s voice be heard,” she said.

Kalesnikava also commented on yesterday’s video recordings of Lukashenka’s showing off his AK rifle near the Palace of Independence in Minsk. In her opinion, such behaviour is a proof of the president’s being afraid of the people.

New Belarus March tableau: Alyaksandr Lukashenka shows off his AK, praises siloviki

“The president says that someone is rattling sabres close to the borders of Belarus. But in fact, there is a certain man who is brandishing his arms in the centre of Minsk […] If he thinks that 80% of Belarusians voted for him, why is he hiding behind barbed wire and chains of officers?” she wonders.

It should be noted that CC board member Pavel Latushka, a former minister and diplomat who openly supported protesters, called on the Kremlin not to believe unconfirmed reports about the Council’s being anti-Russian. According to him, the CC is seeking good relations with Moscow and the West.