Over 200,000 people gathered in Belarus on Sunday to protest against President Alexander Lukashenko, who they say is responsible for a rigged election held last week. Election “results” showed Lukashenko in the lead by 80%, despite evidence showing that opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya rightfully won the election:
Tom Rogan, commentary writer for Washington Examiner
Crowds of thousands have gathered in towns across Belarus, as well as in Prague and Warsaw.
A government crackdown in Belarus backfired after a slew of videos showed security forces brutally repressing demonstrators. We reviewed hundreds of the videos and spoke to protesters who were beaten, arrested and detained. https://t.co/Og3tPpnF0L pic.twitter.com/5QfJgcYdVA— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 18, 2020
LEFT & RIGHT
Both the Right and the Left support the protestors and have criticized the actions of Lukashenko, whom one article referred to as the “dictator who has held power for the past 26 years.” Tsikhanouskaya has called for an “election recount” and is said to be “forming a national council to facilitate a power transfer.” Regarding the election held last week, human rights activist Franak Viacorka called it “a farce and a circus…Candidates were imprisoned, observers were beaten and arrested, many voters were not allowed to vote.” While many agree that European Union (EU) and US officials should impose sanctions on Lukashenko, many say that is not enough:
“Belarusians do not need more indignant statements from the West; they need the West to join them in declaring that the official election results are fraudulent, in demanding an unconditional release of all detained demonstrators, and in calling for new elections.”The New York Times Editorial Board
Russian President Vladimir Putin, backing Lukashenko’s claims of a “Western plot to oust him,” has said he would send in troops to help Belarusian police forces if necessary. Lukashenko, who allegedly spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, warned the EU not to interfere. Merkel, however, has denied the report. American Enterprise Institute scholars Dalibor Rohac and Ivana Stradner wrote that US and EU failure to step in would give revengeful Russia a “green light in its efforts to further destabilize the West.”