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EU leaders seek to ramp up pressure on Belarus leader Lukashenko | Belarus News

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European Union leaders have put on a show of support for people protesting in Belarus against President Alexander Lukashenko.

At an emergency video conference on Wednesday, they underlined their concern about the contested presidential election and ratcheted up pressure on officials linked to the security crackdown that followed.

The EU believes the results of the August 9 polls, which handed Lukashenko his sixth term with 80 percent of the vote, “have been falsified”, and the 27-nation bloc is preparing a list of Belarusian officials who could be blacklisted from Europe over their roles.

“Our message is clear. Violence has to stop and a peaceful and inclusive dialogue has to be launched. The leadership of Belarus must reflect the will of the people,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted, minutes after the summit he was chairing got under way.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, also tweeted: “The people of Belarus have the right to a result that accurately reflects their vote. The EU, including the Netherlands, can’t accept the results of these elections.”

The police crackdown

Belarus security forces arrested almost 7,000 people and injured hundreds with rubber bullets, stun grenades and clubs in the first four days of demonstrations. At least two protesters died. 

Workers at state-controlled companies joined strikes this week, as the unprecedented mass protests entered their 11th day, eroding the authority of the man once dubbed “Europe’s last dictator”.

It is not entirely clear what the Europeans can do right now, but they appear determined to help maintain the momentum that began in the streets of Minsk with a show of political support, and to revive a sanctions programme on Belarus that was eased four years ago as relations with Lukashenko improved.

In a joint statement, the presidents of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – countries known as the Visegrad Four – called on authorities in Belarus to “open the way for a political solution, and to abide by the fundamental human rights and freedoms while refraining from the use of violence against the peaceful demonstrators”.

They urged unnamed “foreign actors to refrain from actions that would undermine Belarus’ independence and sovereignty”.

Demonstrators participate in an anti-Lukashenko rally in Minsk [Misha Friedman/Getty Images]

Before the virtual EU summit, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya called on Europe to support “the awakening of Belarus”. 

“I call on you not to recognise these fraudulent elections. Mr Lukashenko has lost all the legitimacy in the eyes of our nation and the world,” she said in a video statement. 

On the eve of the meeting, Michel had a half-hour telephone conversation with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to share the EU’s concern about election irregularities and the scale of the security crackdown, and to impress upon the Russian leader the right of the Belarusian people to determine their own future.

They discussed ways to encourage talks between Lukashenko and the opposition, possibly by supporting a dialogue process fostered by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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