Belarus, EU outrage after opposition supporters die


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Thousands of people rallied in Belarus on Friday after the death of a 31-year-old opposition supporter who was allegedly beaten up by security forces, and the EU condemned the violent crackdown – by Belarusian authorities Has continued to enforce against peaceful protesters.

More than three months after the anti-government protests sparked by official election results, the man who died on Thursday gave authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko a sixth term. Opposition leaders and some poll activists say the results were manipulated, and protesters are demanding Lukashenko’s resignation.

More than 17,000 people have been detained – thousands of them have been brutally beaten – since the November 9 presidential election in Belarus, human rights advocates have reported.

Thousands of people carrying flowers and candles formed a human chain of solidarity in several Belarus cities, including the capital Minsk, to honor the late opposition supporter Raman Bandaraneka, who died in a Minsk hospital after several hours of surgery following serious injuries Has gone. Some of the protesters said, “Stop killing us.”

Banderenka was detained on Wednesday in a Minsk courtyard by unidentified men, “most likely, plaincloth policemen,” who went there to remove the red and white ribbon – a symbol of protests in Belarus, Viana Human Rights Center leader Ales Biyatsky said. Bilayatzky said in a statement, they handed him over to police officers and Bandaranka was brutally beaten inside a van.

“As a result, Raman suffered a serious head injury and was brought to the police (department) in critical condition. An ambulance was not called for two more hours. Doctor Raman was unable to save Bardaneka’s life, ”said Baliatzky, calling for a criminal investigation to apprehend those responsible for Bandaranka’s death.

Belarusian authorities have confirmed that Bandarinaka was brought to the hospital from a police department in Minsk, but denied responsibility for his death. Police said he was injured in a street fight. The Belarus inquiry committee said that Bandaranka also displayed signs of “alcohol intoxication”. An investigation has been launched.

Bandarenka’s death caused resentment both in Belarus and abroad. The European Union condemned the violence.

“This is a disgraceful and shameful result of actions by Belarusian authorities, who have not only directly and violently repressed their populations, but have also created an environment that can lead to such lawless, violent acts, “Peter Steno, European Union spokesman for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement.

Steno accused Lukashenko’s government of not only ignoring the fundamental rights and freedoms of Belarusian people, but also disregarding their lives.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Berger called the incident “disappointing”, adding that “the scale of state violence and repression in Belarus is shocking.”

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, also expressed concern, “as the Belarusian government continues to uphold the state machinery for human rights violations.”

Opposition leader Sivatlana Tsichanskaya, who challenged Lucasenko in the August presidential election and received the second highest number of votes, called Bandarca “a hero” and “an innocent victim of an inhumane system”.

“The man was killed because he wanted to live in a free country,” he said in a video statement on Friday. “But we will never consider those who are ready to kill us.”

In an interview with the state media on Friday, Lukashenko expressed condolences to Bandaranka’s parents and said that he told the head of the inquiry committee that the death needed an “impartial and impartial” investigation.

The Belarus leader said he ordered the Prosecutor General to conduct an investigation “under the most severe control”, as “everyone started blaming the police.”

Lukashenko also renewed his stance that the ongoing unrest is illegitimate. He compared this to the so-called “color revolutions” that overthrew the leaders of countries after the Soviet Union.

“We disproportionately assess post-election events in the country, as they now say, as an unconstitutional coup attempt at color revolutions,” he said. “” Any color revolution makes the state weak and the people poor.

A total of four people, including Bandarenka, have been reported to have died since the protests began in August as a result of a clash between protesters and opposition supporters. No criminal investigation has been launched into the deaths.

The investigation committee has halted the investigation into the death of Alexander Tarikowski, a defender killed on Friday, 10 August. The government says he was killed by an explosive device that flew into his hands, but his partner believed he had been shot. police.

The video shot by an Associated Press journalist showed Tarikowski with a blood-soaked shirt before falling to the ground. Several cops are seen nearby and some go far to where Tarikowski is lying on the road and standing around him.

The video does not show why he fell to the ground or blood on his shirt, but it also did not show that he had an explosive device that flew into his hand, as stated by the government.

The European Union has already banned Lukashenko and his role in the security action initiated after contesting several dozen officials. Steno said on Friday that the 27-nation bloc is “ready to impose additional sanctions.”

In a separate video message, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that EU member states have asked the executive of the bloc to prepare a plan for Belarus’ economic support.

“The European Union is ready to support all its economic means and to accompany democratic change,” she said. “The economic impact of Europe is huge. It is up to us to use our economic dominance more strategically. It is up to us to clarify our position and implement them with strong actions. “

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