Union member nations, the bloc finally took a call to unanimously impose sanctions on Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, and 14 other members of the regime for their involvement in the brutal crackdown on the country’s post-election protests. On Wednesday, 27 EU members decided to impose visa bans and freeze the assets belonging to Lukashenka and the 14 others. Inside sources revealed that the bloc would make official confirmation over the matter on November 6.
Belarus has been rocked by nation-wide protests challenging the 26 year-long rule of the country’s strongman, Lukashenko. People of Belarus have take to the streets demanding his exit from the President’s office. The protestors, who have been protesting for past 12 weeks, since Lukashenko took over as the country’s official head in August, claimed that he got in power through rigged elections.
AFP reported that the EU would also be imposing sanctions on Lukashenka’s son Viktar, who is the national-security adviser in Belarus.
Lukashenko, who categorically clarified that he has no intention to resign, with response to the surge in protests recently said that any protestor who lays hands on any official patrolling the protests, should “at least leave without hands”. He incorporated various steps to suppress the ongoing protests including, installing armoured off-road vehicles equipped with machine guns, along with water cannon vehicles and other anti-riot equipment. These armed vehicles were placed for the first time in last three months of continuous protests.
The 66-year old Belarus leader, who is currently serving his sixth consecutive term as the country’s President has been trying his best to wipe out any dissent from his state. On his orders, authorities have detained over 15000 demonstrators protesting against the state head since he won elections in August. Human rights activists claimed that out of the total detainees more than 100 have been political prisoners. Most of Lukashenko’s political opponents have either been put behind the bars or have flee the country. Even the Belarus’s recent presidential candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was considered the rightful winner of the latest election, moved to Lithuania due to pressure from the authorities.
Lukashenka is “responsible for the violent repression by the state apparatus before and after the 2020 presidential elections,” according to the sanctions report viewed by AFP.
He ordered, “arbitrary arrests and the ill-treatment of peaceful demonstrators, as well as intimidation and violence against journalists.”
As per the earlier sanction agreement, EU formulated a list containing 40 Belarusian officials who it intended to blacklist, freezes assets of and impose travel bans on for their role in running the presidential elections and subsequent crackdown. But the list did not include Lukashenko. The EU has finally included his name and denounced the August election as “neither free nor fair” and refused to acknowledge Lukashenka as Belarus’s rightful president.
Tikhanovskaya during her recent Skype interview with Current Time said, “Lukashenka is losing the last element of legitimacy on November 5. And if some countries may still believe that he still has some kind of legitimacy, that now it is over too… We see how the regime is disintegrating before our very eyes; mistakes are being made. And you all know that only together we will win.”
Tsikhanouskaya added, “I would like democratic countries to pay even more attention to how human rights in Belarus are infringed upon, on the violence taking place in our country. And that they talk about it and take all possible appropriate measures“.